Inclement Weather Causes Major Delays During Lunar New Year

Published on Author geeker

The Lunar New Year is a major holiday in China. It is a week long event where tens of millions of people head home to celebrate with their families or vacation abroad in places such as Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore. This year, however, heavy snowfall in central and eastern China has resulted in numerous flight and train delays, auto accidents and highway closings, stranding travelers in airports and railway stations and preventing many from returning to work after the Lunar New Year celebration.

The Chinese airline industry is notorious for delays in temperate weather, so inclement weather and an increase in airline passengers– 7.69 million people traveled by air this year, a 20% increase from 2013– only exacerbated the situation. There were reports of small riots in Zhengzhou’s Xinzheng International Airport, where frustrated passengers destroyed an information desk and a woman “broke into a control room at the airport, hitting and pouring a drink over a dispatcher’s head.”

Those who decided to utilize other forms of transportation were not spared from delays either, as high-speed rails limited their speeds to operate safely (causing further delays) and eighty stretches of highways were closed on Thursday due to snow and accidents caused by cars sliding off the road.

While nothing can be done to control the elements, it seems that China lacks the infrastructure to lessen the severity and frequency of these delays, even without the presence of inclement conditions. With the increase in wealth and changing tastes in modes of transportation among the Chinese, it will be interesting to see whether the Chinese government addresses these deficiencies in infrastructure, especially within the airline industry, in the near future.

Further Reading: Wall Street Journal

2 Responses to Inclement Weather Causes Major Delays During Lunar New Year

  1. Infrastructure to deal with the elements seems to be a big theme running through the news in America as well. If you look at my home state of Georgia this year, you can see how important it is to be ready for bad weather. The issue in China seems to be to a more extreme degree, but as winters seem to be getting worse, countries and states need to invest the necessary money to prepare.

  2. 1. Google Baidu Map for graphics – while not accurate in terms of numbers, one commentator (WSJ?) called it the largest animal migration on the planet.
    2. As economists, to what extent does it make sense to plan capacity around an event that occurs once a year? Or to invest in snow removal equipment if you use it only once a decade?