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‘East Coast Low’ reduces Sydney Airport to single runway operations

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 6, 2016

VH-OEI YSSY James Lush
Photographer James Lusher braved the elements to capture images of operations at a water-logged Sydney Airport.

Dozens of domestic flights were cancelled and other flights in and out of Sydney Airport experienced significant delays over the weekend as strong winds and heavy rains brought by the so-called ‘East Coast Low’ reduced the airport to single runway operations for significant periods on Saturday and Sunday.

Delays of 90 minutes to two hours were experienced as winds limited operations to Sydney’s 07/25 cross runway.

Among the diversions on Sunday morning were Qantas flight 130 from Shanghai, which diverted into RAAF Base Richmond, north-west of Sydney, and QF128 from Hong Kong, which diverted to Canberra. QF130 was on the ground at Richmond for 2 hours 20 minutes before making the short 14 minute hop to Sydney, while QF128 departed Canberra for Sydney after not quite four hours.

Dozens of domestic flights were cancelled on Sunday in particular, as the qantassource.com and vasource.com websites show.

The wild weather saw flight disruptions all along the east coast over the weekend, including at Brisbane, Gold Coast and Newcastle airports, with flow-on effects across the rest of Australia.

YSSY East Coast Low James Lush
photo – James Lusher
YSSY James Lush VA
photo – James Lusher

Comments (7)

  • Geoff


    Remember when………. Not so long ago when 07/25 was the poor relation and was closed………

  • deano


    Future-proof KSA by building a parallel 07/25 runway south of the fire station
    Even if it was built as a departures only runway to allow increased arrivals
    Or a arrivals and departures strip for regional props

    It would be a hell of a lot smarter and economical than the white elephant that will be BCA

  • Ben


    @ deano – I agree with you. re: 07R/25L ‘Fourth Runway’ – It probably should have been built 20 years ago in conjunction with the third runway. I would have built it on reclaimed land directly south of the 34R threshold.

    I had a cancelled incoming flight to Sydney yesterday – Had a connecting flight for this morning, so had to take the train in which was hours longer. Not complaining – I realise airlines and ATC have to coordinate to best deliver single runway ops with the infrastructure that is there. Even with 34L and 34R ‘normal’ ops today my connecting flight this morning was interesting to say the least – never seen Botany Bay look so unsettled.

    Had similar thing happened on my initial trip the previous Friday (27 May) Single runway ops all day due to high Westerly winds. Absolutely fascinating to see all aircraft using the same runway – Seeing landing lights from 2 aircraft in the distance as we turned to line up for take off. Extremely well coordinated and I take my hat off to ATC.

    The ultimate future proofing of SYD would be to build two parallel east west runways and a third parallel north south runway – Would have to be out in Botany Bay. That way you could have 6 runways overall (16R/34L, 16C/34C, 16L/34R, 07R/25L, 07C/25C and 07L/25R)

    With that runway configuration you could still operate at full capacity without needing single runway ops and you wouldn’t have to build the Western Sydney white elephant. However I can’t imagine any further major infrastructure improvements to Sydney as everything will be poured into Badgerys Creek. in the short to medium turn. An additional runway at SYD may materialise in the very long term. Sadly I don’t think my dream of 6 runways will ever come true.

  • Frequent Flyer


    Yes, and didn’t Murrays Coaches, that runs services between Sydney Airport and Canberra, cash in on the chaos. Instead of helping delayed airline passengers out it refused to honour existing bookings and charged them full fare for new tickets or a service fee to change their bookings. This is despite passengers ringing Murrays to advise they were delayed on their arrival into Sydney due to the storms. Meanwhile some of the buses were departing Sydney Airport for Canberra with empty seats.

  • Marc


    Politics and votes, not logic, dictates Sydney Airport.

  • aviatorman


    Another case for going ahead with Badgerys Creek. It might even please those Pax in the western suburbs.!! A quick ride home in a taxi might even save time.? And those who live in the eastern suburbs etc, well a fast trip in the ‘high speed rail’ and you’re nearly there.

  • Pontius the pilot


    The 1980’s master plan had the extra runway in the bay and the tower on the South side of G H Drive. Pity. Anyone who has had to stuff around making connections between multiple airports for the one city knows the preferred option.

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