Backlog in flights as winds fail to ease off
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.”