Q: What does it mean when a flight is delayed "due to air traffic control"?
I'm taking a domestic flight in China and it has been delayed because of air traffic control management or something like that. What does that even mean? Is someone not doing their job properly?
it could mean anything: weather, flight lanes all backed up because of an earlier flight delay, someone important almost missing the flight. it could be a way of getting out of paying compensation. I was once delayed on a flight from Amsterdam to Beijing by flat tyre on the plane. The captain kept the passengers fully informed, and the staff were on hand to give refreshments, and the new estimated time of departure was met. This was followed by an email the next day apologising for the inconvenience. Contrasting this with a 5 hour delay in China where there was no information other than the changing information on the screen....
The Chinese air space is controlled by the PLA air force. They have alloted a measly 20% to commercial purposes. The congestion is caused by the above that due to the over crowding of this 20% it becomes to dangerous to allow more planes on certain routes that overlap other routes. As soon as the Air Force loosens controls on the airspace more and more flights will be delayed.
Sometimes when another flight is delayed, it will have priority to take off/ land (or an international flight or a bigger airline). Then other flights that are supposed to wait while those priority flights take off/ land.
I'll give you an example, if 3 flights from outside the country are late and will arrive close to the time your flight is supposed to take off. They will make your flight late so that the passengers on the international flights make their connecting flights.
besides the normal air force exercise ，bad weather reasons etc ，it's believed that one big reason is someone privileged and more “important” than us enjoys the priority to fly their planes first.
It means air traffic control has not given the green light for your airplane to go yet. They have to check all the airplanes and make sure everything is clear. More than likely airtraffic control said to not take off.....