News State Victoria Melbourne airport control tower evacuation causes long delays

Melbourne airport control tower evacuation causes long delays

All flights at Melbourne airport were suspended for about an hour on Monday morning. Photo: AAP
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Melbourne Airport has resumed operations after suspending all inbound flights due to a fire alarm that went off, causing an evacuation of all air traffic controllers.

Stranded travellers phoned Tony Jones, on 3AW, telling of their frustration as they remained stuck on planes or waiting to board.

Caller Craig said he was on a Melbourne-bound flight to Brisbane but while waiting take-off, received a notification from the captain that the traffic tower had been evacuated, causing the plane to remain stationary.

Incoming planes that were left circling were allowed to land at Melbourne Airport after air traffic controllers returned to the control tower at about 10am, airport spokesperson Grant Smith confirmed to The New Daily.

Mr Smith said the control tower, where the alarm went off, was evacuated just after 9am and staff returned back an hour later, clearing all grounded flights for take-off.

“The impact of that was planes were unable to land at Melbourne airport while the tower was unstaffed and departures were limited to a handful of aircraft movement.”

He said the severity of flight delays are unclear, adding that every flight will be affected differently.

“We thank everyone for their patience this morning. We recognise that it’s a disruption to their travel schedule and we appreciate everyone bearing with us while we we’re waiting for the control tower to be restaffed,” Mr Smith said.