‘Mistake’: Texts cause airport confusion

·2-min read
Sydney Airport
Flights have been cancelled and delays are expected as strong winds smash the city. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Early morning travellers were thrown into disarray after a major airport was forced to shut down runways.

About 37 flights out of Sydney airport were cancelled on Monday morning after air traffic controllers directed the airport to run off one of their three runways.

A Sydney airport spokesperson said the decision was made after strong winds lashed the city in the early hours of the morning.

However, some Qantas passengers were left confused when they received messages from the airline on Sunday night apologising for their flight cancellation.

Qantas text message. Picture 2GB.jpeg
A text message sent to a Qantas passenger. Picture: 2GB
Qantas text message. Picture 2GB.jpeg
The Qantas messages blamed the delays and cancellations on a ‘shortage of air traffic controllers’. Picture: 2GB

“Due to a shortage of Air Traffic Controllers, your flight on 8 May may be delayed or cancelled,” the message read.

An AirServices Australia said the message from Qantas contained wrong information, insisting that single runway operations were enacted “due to strong runway crosswinds”.

“Airservices Australia is calling on Qantas to contact customers incorrectly informed that flights were delayed at Sydney Airport this morning due to air traffic controller shortages to advise that it was strong crosswinds that resulted in delays,” the spokesperson said.

“Qantas mistakenly informed their customers despite being advised last night that strong crosswinds were likely to result in single runway operations at Sydney.

“This decision is purely weather-related – crosswinds on the parallel runways are up to 56km/h and stronger gusts are possible.”

Nearly 40 flights were cancelled after strong winds closed runways at Sydney airport. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Qantas declined to comment.

Parallel runway operations were back up and running by 12pm today “due to easing south-westerly wind conditions” the spokesperson said.

Passengers are being urged to speak to their airline to get the latest information on the status of their flights, the Sydney airport spokesperson said.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast winds of up to 45km/h in Sydney.

Temperature plunges in Sydney

Aussies have been urged to rug up and get ready for the first taste of winter, as temperatures drop across the country.

Temperatures across the southern parts of the country have already dipped well below average and meteorologists predict more cold days are on the way.

The bureau’s weather observations showed the temperature plunged in Sydney overnight.

The temperature dropped to 10.5C at Sydney airport at 4am on Monday – but the apparent temperature was a chilly 0.8C as cold winds blasted the Harbour City. At Mount Boyce, it was -1C but felt like -8.3C.

A total of 10.8mm was also recorded in the rain gauge.