Flyers revel in clear air and on-time departures after two days of Sydney Airport chaos

Would-be passengers cool their heels in endless lines at the height of Sydney Airport's chaotic two days.

Would-be passengers cool their heels in endless lines at the height of Sydney Airport's chaotic two days. Photo: AAP

Passengers keen to reach their destinations more or less on time are heaving sighs of relief as the two days of chaos that crippled Australia’s busiest airport has mostly subsided.

The effect of strong winds combined with staffing shortfalls forced the cancellation of dozens of flights out of Sydney on Friday and Saturday, with pilots limited for safety reasons to a single runway.

The knock-on effect led to huge crowds spilling out of the terminal as the NSW school holidays began.

On Sunday morning, flight monitors showed most departures from domestic and international terminals at Sydney Airport leaving on time.

There are still some cancellations and delays, however, meaning would-be passengers are urged to check with their airlines. Arrival times are also mostly back on schedule.

Traffic controller Airservices Australia said it continues to closely monitor weather conditions to ensure safety.

The strong winds that caused two days of nationwide travel disruptions have abated, with the only wind warning in NSW on Sunday for the Eden coastline, south of Sydney.

Thousands inconvenienced

The airport chaos caused thousands to scramble to find new flights, with 18 departures out of Sydney cancelled and dozens more delayed on Saturday due to wind gusts of up to 45km/h, along with staffing issues.

More than 100 flights were cancelled on Friday and the disruption spread to airports across the country.

Staffing problems in Queensland airports are still leading to slower processing times for those flying into the Sunshine State, with no let-up in sight.

Travellers are urged to give themselves more time.

The Bureau of Meteorology recorded wind gusts of 30km/h at Sydney Airport at 5.30pm on Saturday as conditions eased slightly from 44km/h gusts recorded at 1pm.

Southwesterly winds averaging 15 to 20km/h – similar to those forecast for the airport on Saturday – are expected to continue on Sunday but will ease throughout the day and into the afternoon.

The ongoing impact of industry-wide disruptions is expected to cause more delays, a Virgin Australia spokesperson said.

Flight Centre Australia managing director Graham Turner told Nine’s Today program the delays and cancellations would probably continue for the next six months due to staff shortages.

“It’s a problem not only with air traffic controllers – you know, the airlines have a shortage of pilots,” he said.


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