Back­log in flights as winds fail to ease off

The Weekend Post - - Nation -

SYD­NEY Air­port pas­sen­gers con­tin­ued to face de­lays yes­ter­day, with strong winds show­ing no signs of eas­ing and 50 flights can­celled.

The in­ter­rup­tions fol­low wild winds on Thurs­day, which forced the ground­ing of more than 70 flights and the clo­sure of two of three run­ways.

Gusts of 57km/h were recorded at Kings­ford Smith Air­port yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Two run­ways were open but it was likely planes would be re­duced to us­ing a sin­gle run­way by yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, Air Ser­vices Aus­tralia spokes­woman Sarah Ful­ton said.

The air­port is al­ready work­ing to clear Thurs­day’s back­log, a process that could take days, and with the ef­fects start­ing to be felt across the coun­try.

“Be­cause of Thurs­day’s con­di­tions at Syd­ney we are start­ing to see a flow-on im­pact on the net­work and that will con­tinue to­day (Fri­day),” Ms Ful­ton said.

As the air­port works to clear the lag, a peak in­dus­try group has called for the cap on the num­ber of flights al­lowed in and out of the air­port every hour to be eased.

At present, there is a fed­eral gov­ern­ment-im­posed cap of 20 air­craft move­ments per quar­ter hour.

Tourism and Trans­port Fo­rum chief ex­ec­u­tive Margy Os­mond says the cap doesn’t be­long in the 21st cen­tury, with its neg­a­tive im­pacts felt far be­yond Syd­ney’s sub­urbs.

“For the air­port to re­cover af­ter these wind events we need the ca­pac­ity to get rid of the 15-minute caps at Syd­ney Air­port so we can land the plans we need to,” she said yes­ter­day. “It doesn’t just af­fect Syd­ney; it af­fects the whole coun­try, the en­tire na­tional net­work of air­ports.”

Ms Os­mond said the crit­i­cal is­sue with the cap was its lack of flex­i­bil­ity and sug­gested a sys­tem more in line with that of Lon­don’s Heathrow Air­port.

“Heathrow Air­port has a cap on the num­ber of planes, ex­cept it’s an an­nual cap.”

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