Much of modern air traffic control and the aviation system generally in China was set up in conjunction with Boeing. It was important to describe the process not as modeling the U.S., but as “bringing China up to world standards.”
Nonetheless, the Chinese military controls most air space in China.
There were excellent discussions of these phenomenon in James Fallows’ China Airborne which I enjoyed reading last year.
As a result, with a burgeoning aviation market, congestion around major cities is common.
Apparently priority is given to flights with ‘important’ passengers, international flights, and flights where a crew member knows the air traffic controller.
The latest statistics shows that the flow of air traffic accounts for as high as 40 percent of the total number of flight delays during the first half of this year. And whether the flight could take off in time or not, it depends on the fellowship with the air traffic controller.
Captain Wang Hai said that as long as one crew member on a flight personally knows the air traffic controller, the flight would be given priority to take off in time.
But some air traffic controllers explain that queue-jumping contributes to flights unpunctuality.
“International flights and those carrying important passengers, such as government officials, business tycoons and senior officials in civil aviation, do not have to wait in long queues to take off”, an air traffic controller in south China’s Guangzhou said.
Here, apparently, is a photograph of two Xiamen Airlines flight attendants praying for an on-time departure.
No word if it worked.