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China: why so little airways? What's impact?

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:20 pm
by berari
Looking at high altitude airways on flightradar, I can't help but notice how relatively little airways exist in China in comparison to many parts of the world, including India and southeast Asia. My questions are:
- Why is this underdeveloped? Is it a matter of national security and/or protection of certain overflying areas?
- Are there plans to create new routes? How is this impacting aviation in/over China especially given the exploding air travel needs of its citizens?
- How long does it take to establish such new routes?
- Why such an obvious absence over Tibet?

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Re: China: why so little airways? What's impact?

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:37 pm
by tomgle
AFAIK the military controls much of Chinese airspace.

Re: China: why so little airways? What's impact?

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:39 pm
by alex0easy
The PLAAF is pretty reluctant to release control over the airspace in general.
As for Tibet, mostly due to its altutude. Let's say you have a cabin decompression, usually you lower the plane to 10,000-ish feet, but not over Tibet as you will be hitting terrain. Planes flying into the airports in the region are configured for the job (like carrying extra oxygen etc), thus you don't see planes overflying Tibet that are not heading for/departing from the area.

Re: China: why so little airways? What's impact?

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:24 pm
by eamondzhang
alex0easy wrote:
The PLAAF is pretty reluctant to release control over the airspace in general.
As for Tibet, mostly due to its altutude. Let's say you have a cabin decompression, usually you lower the plane to 10,000-ish feet, but not over Tibet as you will be hitting terrain. Planes flying into the airports in the region are configured for the job (like carrying extra oxygen etc), thus you don't see planes overflying Tibet that are not heading for/departing from the area.

Correct, when you have a cabin decompression over Tibet you can't fly lower than 14,000 ft and sometimes even higher. All planes flying over the region are specially configured to carry extra oxygen. You never want something unexpected to happen when you fly over the Himalayas.

This is exactly why India/ME - East Asia flights go either via ZWWW region or ZPPP region - most planes, no matter widebodies or narrowbodies, are not configured in such way that will allow a safe passage over the region.

Michael

Re: China: why so little airways? What's impact?

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:06 pm
by PSAatSAN4Ever
As I recall, at least for a while, Chinese ATC would not hand off to Soviet/Russian ATC, necessitating routing all flights via Mongolia, which itself hand only one transit route, north-south over ULN. In one of MacArthur Job's books on the forensic study of air crashes, there is the story of Aeroflot #593, with a drawing of its chosen flight path, overflying Russia to Irkutsk (IKT), ULN, and PEK, before flying due south into HKG.

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The People's Liberation Army will continue to control the airspace until such time as the decision is made to open up more routes.

Re: China: why so little airways? What's impact?

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:56 pm
by Starlionblue
alex0easy wrote:
The PLAAF is pretty reluctant to release control over the airspace in general.
As for Tibet, mostly due to its altutude. Let's say you have a cabin decompression, usually you lower the plane to 10,000-ish feet, but not over Tibet as you will be hitting terrain. Planes flying into the airports in the region are configured for the job (like carrying extra oxygen etc), thus you don't see planes overflying Tibet that are not heading for/departing from the area.


You don't even have to fly in and out of Tibet for terrain to have a major operation impact flying over the Mainland. Overflying northwest China to/from Europe and East Asia, e.g. on the semi-famous Y1 airway, you have to use escape charts in case of a decompression or engine failure. There are also additional oxygen requirements because it might be a while before you can descend to 10000 feet after an event.