Sydney Airport has begun processing travellers after a technical glitch blocked passengers from passing through two key gateway terminals on Friday morning.
Technical issues affecting CCTV cameras and other systems across Sydney’s T1 international and T2 domestic terminals caused passenger delays of up to 90 minutes, an airport spokesperson confirmed.
Qantas’ domestic Terminal 3 and inbound flights were not affected.
“Our priority now is to ensure all passengers are safely on their way,” the spokesperson said.
There are currently “less than a dozen flight delays of up to 15 minutes” at Sydney airport, a spokesperson for Virgin Australia told The New Daily.
Deli manager Rachel O’Connor, who was coming home from a holiday in Thailand’s Phuket, was forced to wait over three hours at Sydney Airport to catch her connecting flight home to the Gold Coast.
“We had three hours from when we were supposed to land from Phuket before getting on our 1.15pm flight to the Gold Coast. Instead we had to wait until 5.10pm,” Ms O’Connor, 39, told The New Daily.
“It was pretty stressful when it all started. We were tired and had been awake for 24 hours.
“We just wanted to get home.”
Ms O’Connor commended the staff at Sydney Airport for their “great” customer service.
— Stephen Smiley (@StephenSmiley) March 8, 2018
The chaos in Sydney created a ripple effect at other Australian airports.
Perth Airport has seen minimal delay with one flight affected by just over an hour, a spokesperson said.
But passenger Christopher Sowerby, 46, told The New Daily his flight from Perth to Sydney airport was delayed by two hours.
“I am sitting around the Perth airport for hours, wondering if I will make my connecting flight,” Mr Sowerby said.
“If I miss it, my wife will have to do another night with our four children, three of which are under six.”
After a week apart from his family, Mr Sowerby said, “it’s what we’ve been looking forward to all week”.
“No one wants to walk in the door at midnight or ring their wife and say, ‘I’m not coming home tonight’,” he said.
— Callum M Batchelor (@callumichaelb) March 8, 2018
Associate Professor in Aviation and Maritime Management Xiaowen Fu from the University of Sydney said technical issues with CCTV would have most likely affected the security control at Sydney airport.
“An airport is a very large area. Some of these areas need the CCTV camera to record or convey real information to ensure that for example there is no trespassing,” Associate Professor Fu said.
“If CCTV cameras are not operating effectively, the airport will have no confidence that the security is under control.”
Associate Professor Fu said Sydney Airport has been running quite well in terms of productivity.
“They have been very efficient.
“A temporary failure is common to any organisation,” he said.
How technical issues affected airports across Australia
Friday’s disruption in Sydney had minimal impact in Melbourne, a spokesperson for Melbourne Airport said.
“Anyone travelling who has concerns about their flight specifically should contact their airline directly, but for us it’s business as usual,” the spokesperson said.
There were four flights to Adelaide Airport that were affected, the longest delay being 90 minutes, a spokesman said.
During the morning peak there was no impact to flights departing Brisbane for Sydney and minimal to no delays for most of the incoming Sydney flights, a spokesperson for Brisbane Airport said.
“The disruption may lead to knock-on impacts for the national network later in the day however.”
And, “at this stage” Darwin airport has not been affected.