Military drill affects flights in China, hundreds cancelled ( representational image)
Military drill affects flights in China, hundreds cancelled ( representational image)Wikimedia Commons/Freakyyash

Delays and flight cancellations await travellers in China for the next four weeks as the country's People's Liberation Army is conducting military drills over the East China Sea, thus imposing "air traffic restrictions".

The Shanghai International Airport and 11 other airports in east China will be affected by the drills. The drills are expected to last till 15 August, according to China Central Television (CCTV).

Around 200 flights were cancelled at Pudong and Hongqiao airports in Shanghai, and another 120 flights were delayed for more than two hours on Monday.

China's civil aviation authority requested global airlines to reduce flight frequency to eastern China by 25 percent in the coming weeks, according to a memo shared by CCTV on its Weibo account.

"The following 12 airports will experience massive delays for 26 days! Fliers, bring snacks and water!" the CCTV post read.

"From July 20 to August 15, operations of these airports -- including Shanghai Hongqiao, Shanghai Pudong, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Hefei, Jinan, Wuxi, Ningbo, Qingdao, Lianyungang, Zhengzhou and Wuhan -- will be affected by high-frequency exercises conducted by another party. All airlines are requested to reduce flights by 25 per cent and fliers are expected to face delays."

The People's Liberation Army started the three months of live-fire drills in six regional military commands on 15 July, and some of the training would be conducted under a "complex electromagnetic environment", the State-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

Live-fire exercises with tanks in night conditions and foreign terrain aimed to temper combat capabilities under complicated conditions are part of the drill, according to Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao.

Takeoff formations and testing lifesaving capabilities in complex sea environments are also done by the PLA Air Force.

More than 65 planes between Hong Kong and Shanghai were delayed or cancelled on Saturday, according to the WantChinaTimes.