MORE than 500 flights into and out of the city’s two airports were canceled or delayed yesterday due to extreme weather conditions, officials said.
Heavy rain, thunder and lightning led to the Shanghai Airport Authority issuing its highest alert at 2:45pm. The “red” warning indicated that the takeoff and landing capacity at both Hongqiao and Pudong airports had been cut by 70 percent.
As of 7pm yesterday, 340 flights — 197 at Hongqiao and 143 at Pudong — had been canceled, while 180 had been delayed, as the “on-time rate” at Hongqiao slumped to just 27 percent.
Just two planes an hour were able to take off or land at Hongqiao because of the heavy rain, according to flight monitoring service provider veryzhun.com.
The amount of delays and cancellations were among the worst ever recorded, the airport authority said.
As well as the cancellations, nine flights scheduled to land at Hongqiao had to be diverted to other airports.
Four of them were redirected to Pudong, while the other five were diverted to airports in neighboring Hangzhou and southeast China’s Fujian Province, the authority said.
China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines said they had canceled about 150 outbound and inbound flights and expected several others to be affected.
Thousands of people were left stranded at Hongqiao last night, while passengers booked on outbound flights after 7pm were told not to bother going to the airport as there was no chance they would be taking off.