BEIJING Feb 7 A riot at a major airport in
China by passengers angry about delays caused by heavy snow has
marred the end of the traditional week-long lunar new year
holiday, state media said on Friday, as millions rush to return
Passengers at Zhengzhou airport, capital of the populous
northern province of Henan, stormed check-in desks and smashed
computers and other equipment after the airport closed for more
than five hours due to the snow on Thursday, newspapers
Pictures on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging
service showed police trying to calm angry crowds and broken
signs at airline counters.
"There were not enough seats and passengers had to sit on
their luggage eating instant noodles. The airport staff were
indifferent and said 'I don't know' to questions asked of them,"
Henan radio said on its microblog.
The Global Times, a tabloid published by the official
People's Daily, described the incident as a "riot". It added
that the airport finally reopened late on Thursday.
New year is the country's most important traditional
festival - for many the only holiday of the year - and is marked
by a mass migration as people flock home to spend it with
families, crowding trains, buses and aircraft.
Domestic media frequently reports on incidents of passengers
angered about delays attacking airline staff, storming onto
grounded aircraft and destroying equipment.
The government has told airlines and airports to better
explain the causes of delays and to provide free hotels and
food, but the airlines complain the problem is rooted in an
inexperienced travelling public which is still not used to
problems associated with flying.
Air travel is booming in China on the back of explosive
economic growth, driving huge orders for foreign aircraft
manufacturers and an ambitious airport building scheme taking in
some of the country's most remote areas.
However, service standards have failed to keep up, many
(Reporting by Michael Martina and Ben Blanchard; Editing by