Thick fog blanketing much of western China has delayed dozens of flights and left more than 16,000 passengers stranded at airports ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.
At least 10,000 passengers were stranded at Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu, capital of China's southwestern Sichuan province, after it closed for more than five hours on Sunday, Xinhua said.
Some 121 incoming and outgoing flights were delayed and four cancelled, the agency said, quoting the airport authority.
Airport spokesman Lu Junming told Xinhua most of the 485 flights scheduled for Sunday would be delayed for at least four hours.
The fog had also closed expressways linking Chengdu to other cities in the populous province, and left 6,000 passengers stranded at Urumqi International Airport in China's northwestern Xinjiang region.
It comes as hundreds of millions of Chinese board planes, trains and automobiles to return home for the Lunar New Year, dubbed the world's biggest human migration.
Last year, the bitterest winter to hit China in decades saw millions of migrant workers stranded at railway stations and on clogged highways across large swathes of the country's centre and south.
China's trains made a record 5 million passenger trips on Saturday, the China Youth Daily said in a separate report.
The early Lunar New Year holiday this year has caused an unprecedented crunch of students, tourists and family visitors joining the usual millions of migrant workers on their way back to home villages. The peak travel period this year is expected to see a record 2.3 billion trips.
Last Mod: 18 Ocak 2009, 14:09