SHANGHAI’S air traffic control authority has refused to explain why almost 200 flights were canceled at the city’s two airports yesterday.
Officials would only say disruptions were due to “air traffic restrictions,” the latest in a series of such incidents this month.
By yesterday afternoon, 101 flights had been canceled at Pudong International Airport, and another 98 at Hongqiao International Airport.
Some other 120 flights were also delayed for more than two hours at the airports, the Shanghai Airport Authority said.
The authority said flights were affected by air traffic restrictions in airspace near Shanghai, but declined to elaborate.
It is not known if these restrictions will continue today.
Due to the frequent disruptions recently, passengers have been asked to check with their airline before setting out.
Among situations for air traffic restrictions being imposed are when military maneuvers are taking place.
China Eastern Airlines said flights from Shanghai were affected because “the airspace was occupied,” also without elaboration.
This month has seen frequent flight cancellations and delays due to air traffic restrictions.
With the authority remaining tight-lipped about the reasons behind this, speculation has been rife on the Internet.
Two people have been detained for allegedly spreading rumors on the Internet that cancellations and delays on the Shanghai-Beijing route this month were because the authorities were trying to apprehend a high-ranking official.
Another 37 rumormongers were also held, police announced yesterday.
Earlier this month, when more than 800 flights were canceled or delayed, the authority said the chaos was due to rainstorms and thunder and lightning that day, as well as air traffic restrictions.
Cancellations and delays brought the punctuality rate at the Hongqiao airport down to about 40 percent yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Pudong airport only achieved a 26 percent punctuality rate for outbound flights yesterday afternoon.
Both airports usually achieve a punctuality rate of about 80 percent.
China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Juneyao Airlines and China Southern Airlines issued statements to their passengers to apologize for cancellations to and from Shanghai’s airports.
International flights have also been affected by the restrictions.
On its microblog account on Sina.com, Scandinavian Airlines apologized that its flight SK998 from Pudong to Copenhagen had been canceled.