Huge warning as dozens of flights cancelled

Australia’s largest airports have been severely impacted by bad weather. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Travellers have been warned of impending delays and disruption to their flights as storms and runway restrictions plague some of Australia’s biggest airports.

Dozens of domestic flights have been cancelled and significant delays are expected due to winds and storm cells.

Melbourne and Sydney airports had their operations restricted to a single runway on Friday morning due to high winds.

Both airports have had normal operations restored; however, there are warnings that air traffic could be forced back onto one runway if winds pick up again throughout the day.

Sydney Airport
Travellers have reported issues with bag drops as high winds cause havoc on the runway. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gaye Gerard

Delays are expected on several arriving flights due to the single runway operations that reduce the number of flights taking off or landing to between 30 and 40 per hour.

Brisbane Airport is also experiencing air traffic controller shortages, adding to pressure across Australia’s airport network.

Flights coming through Sydney and Melbourne have already been cancelled on Friday morning due to the complications.

At least 35 flights arriving in Sydney on Friday have been cancelled so far, along with 30 departures.

“Due to strong winds and scattered storm cells, airlines have cancelled a number of domestic flights and there will be some delays throughout the day,” a Sydney airport spokeswoman said.

“We encourage passengers to check with their airline regarding the status of their flight.”

Virgin Australia has cancelled 38 flights across its network on Thursday night and Friday, with the airline flagging that more disruptions could happen throughout the day.

“Weather, air traffic controller shortages and engineering requirements have resulted in cancellations across the network today. We sincerely apologise to our guests for the inconvenience,” A Virgin spokesperson said in a statement.

Bad weather is not the only thing causing disruption, with air traffic control staff shortages in Brisbane. NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

“The safety of our guests and crew is our highest priority and further adjustments to our flight schedule may be necessary today.”

Qantas has also confirmed that there are a number of cancellations across its Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne flights due to the weather and air traffic controller shortages.

Disgruntled travellers have taken to social media to complain of long lines and delays on flights.

“I was there it took over one hour and half in line to do a bag drop. From 7.30am to 9.15am. Absolute Chaos,” one traveller at Melbourne Airport said.

“Huge delays checking our bags in with Virgin this morning. Also our flight is 30min later than it should be leaving.”

More to come