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'Absolute mayhem' at Sydney airport blamed on 'perfect storm'

Thousands of passengers faced frustrating delays at Sydney airport on Thursday night as a result of a combination of staffing issues due to Covid, school holiday rushes and "inexperienced travellers".

“We’re facing a perfect storm at the moment,” Sydney Airport Chief Executive, Geoff Culbert said in a statement to Yahoo News Australia.

“Traffic numbers are picking up, travellers are inexperienced after two years of not travelling, and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport.”

Passengers at the departures and arrivals Terminal at Sydney airport.
Twitter users posted images showing the crowded terminal on Thursday night and Friday morning. Source: Twitter/ Dean Leishman (Twitter/ Dean Leishman)

'Absolutely insane': Passenger fume at overwhelmed airport

The chaos continued on Friday morning, with Twitter users posting photos of long queues snaking around the terminals.

"Surely this lack of staff and streamline process represents a health and safety risk to the public?" one Twitter user wrote, along with an image showing the arrivals and departure gates at the Qantas terminal packed with queuing travellers.

"Sydney airport is absolutely insane," tweeted another passenger.

"Security line starts inside and snakes back and forth, then it goes outside and snakes back and forth, then you can go back inside and snakes back and forth.

"Flights are delayed because they can't get humans through fast enough!"

"Thousands spilling over into carpark next to terminal," another added. "Only one officer controlling the crowd. How many flights are going to be missed??"

Other passengers reported missing their flights due to long delays.

Mr Culbert said he encourages all passengers to get to the airport early.

“We would like to apologise to passengers who are being inconvenienced and would like to thank people who are getting to the airport early, wearing their masks and making sure they are prepared for their check-in and security processes."

It's the first major holiday period for Sydney airport since borders reopened.

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