( Reuters ) - Olympic Games host Beijing has hit back at a report on Forbes Magazine's Web site that rated its airport the second worst in the world in terms of delayed flights.
Airport general manager Dong Zhiyi said "official statistics" showed that 86.28 percent of its take-offs were on schedule, much higher than Forbes's reported 33 percent, Xinhua news agency reported late on Wednesday.
A report on Forbes.com dated January 14 said: "At Beijing Capital International Airport, which is expanding in preparation for the Summer Olympics later this year, just 33 percent of its flights took off on time in 2007, putting it just behind Brasilia on our list of worst departures."
Forbes surveyed more than 100 airports, citing data "primarily" from FlightStats, a tracker of flight information, and rated only airports that served at least 10 million passengers in 2006, it said.
Dong said Beijing airport "did not deserve its poor ranking", adding that 84.88 percent of flights had arrived and left as scheduled in stormy summer months, up almost 10 percent from the previous year.
Dong's figures would substantially lift it in the Forbes ratings, far above Europe's worst airport, Charles De Gaulle in Paris, which had only 50 percent of departures leaving on time, but still shy of Osaka Itami airport in Japan, which clocked a brisk 97 percent.
China has struggled to build infrastructure and lift service standards to match soaring passenger demand in its crowded and often shambolic airports, but travelers are regularly stranded in lounges and on tarmacs for hours.
The country's aviation authority earlier this month vowed tough punishments on airlines that fail punctuality standards over the Olympic Games period from July to September, including the cancellation of offending flight routes.
Beijing airport, which handled about 50 million passengers in 2007 and will open a third terminal in late February, said it would cut its flights to 1,350 per day to reduce delays.