BEIJING (AP) — China has set up alternative flight routes to minimize delays related to military exercises along its southeastern coast that start Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said.

The exercises are part of regularly scheduled drills aiming to improve the military's ability to operate under simulated war conditions, the ministry said in a statement Monday.

It gave no details about where exactly the drills would take place, but said officers had been dispatched to regional airports to facilitate the shifting of civilian flights to alternative routes to reduce the impact on travelers. It said the military had also designated corridors of protected air space to reduce disruptions.

China is the world's second-largest air travel market, but most of its airspace is controlled by the military. Defense-related restrictions are the main reason behind the country having the world's worst record for on-time departures.

China's Civil Aviation Administration warned last week that flights could be disrupted across a wide swath of eastern China through mid-August.

More than 100 flights at Shanghai's two international airports were delayed or canceled on July 14, prompting rumors that war games were the reason.



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