Chaos at Sydney Airport as dozens of flights were canceled due to weather problems

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More than 50 flights departing from Sydney Airport have been canceled due to bad weather.

Two of the three runways at the airport are expected to close shortly, leaving all domestic and international flights sharing a single runway.

Airservices Australia says the impending closure is due to safety concerns about heavy rain and wind in NSW.

“Sydney Airport is expected to transition to operating from a single runway shortly due to adverse weather conditions,” a spokesman said.

“Safety is our number one priority.”

49 domestic flights and two international flights have been terminated as a result.

The cancellations come on the back of warnings from Sydney Airport that the upcoming school holiday period is expected to be even busier than the last.

The increase in flights has coincided with the National Day of Mourning holiday, with Sydneysiders traveling to Melbourne for the AFL grand final on Saturday.

Sydney Airport chief executive Geoff Culbert says he expects almost 2.4 million passengers to pass through the airport over the next three weeks.

“The school holidays will test us again and we expect the terminals to be busy at peak times, particularly on Thursday, Friday and Monday mornings,” Mr Culbert said.

Portrait photo of Geoff Culbert CEO at Sydney Airport.
Sir. Culbert says there are busy times ahead at the airport.(ABC News: John Gunn)

“Passengers must continue to arrive 2 hours prior to departure for domestic flights and three hours prior to international.”

Sir. Culbert says the airport is better positioned than at any point in the post-COVID period to handle the increase in demand.

But labor shortages continue to cause problems and thousands of positions remain vacant across the airport.

Sydney’s domestic terminals have suffered months of delays and overcrowding as the airport struggles to adjust to normal levels of travel.

In August, total passenger traffic at the airport returned to 72.5 percent of pre-COVID levels.

People stand in a long queue at an airport
Lines have stretched through terminals again.(ABC News)
A board with airline logos and flight times
A board showing several canceled flights at Sydney Airport.(ABC News)

Passenger queues have stretched out the door several times since April, with many travelers waiting outside for hours just to check in their luggage.

On Wednesday, Sydney Airport hosted a job fair to try to fill the labor shortage created after a large part of the workforce was released during lockdown.

“All organizations across the airport have been working hard to rebuild their workforce and we are seeing improved operational performance most days,” Mr Culbert said.

“But labor shortages are an ongoing challenge with around 4,000 open roles across the airport.”

Sydney Airport says passengers who are unsure whether their flight has been canceled should contact their airline directly.

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