59% of trips will not go ahead as of Sept 21, according to Flight Master – yet the reasons for the cancellations are not yet known.
Flights in China’s western provinces have been most affected, the site reports, as news outlet Netease claims recent Covid-19 outbreaks to be the cause.
Investigative journalist Zhao Lanjian made (so far) unverified claims on Twitter citing military operations as the reason.
According to Zhao’s tweet “This mass cancellation of flights must be a military directive. Air traffic control authority is decided by the Chinese military, which in turn gives instructions to civil aviation management. The airspace is set aside so that military aircraft can fly at will. This is military planning, or at least with military prep.”
Zhao is the reporter who investigated the chained woman, a victim of child trafficking and sexual persecution in Xuzhou, China’s eastern Jiangsu Province. Zhao was targeted by local police and national security agents after posting his investigation online. He fled China via Malaysia and arrived in the United States in July.