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Airservices says it has fixed software issue that led to Sydney Airport delays

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 25, 2017

Airservices had a technical issue at Sydney Airport on Monday. (Bernie Proctor)
Airservices had a technical issue at Sydney Airport on Monday. (Bernie Proctor)

Airservices says the backlog of flights into and out of Sydney Airport should be cleared by early afternoon after resolving what the air traffic manager described as a software issue that left scores of passengers delayed on Monday morning.

Airlines were forced to delay or cancel a number of flights after the fault was discovered at about 0500 Monday, leading to long queues at Sydney Airport at the start of the school holiday period.

The system problem also impacted flights out of Melbourne and Brisbane.

Airservices said the issue was resolved a few hours later.

“The technical issue @SydneyAirport has been addressed, we are now working to resume to normal operations and clear the backlog of flights,” Airservices said Twitter.

Later, Airservices said in a statement the disruption was caused by a software issue.


“The software fault failed to convert from night-shift operations to day-shift operations, consequently one air traffic control console was operational for the morning peak when in normal circumstances six to eight consoles are operating,” Airservices said.

“The safety of the travelling public is our first priority and traffic capacity was reduced to maintain safety standards.”

Further, Airservices said it was “confident that it was not a cyber incident”, adding that it was a hardware failure.

The backlog of flights to be cleared by early afternoon, it said.

Qantas said on its website there were “significant delays” affecting Sydney Airport affecting all airlines.

Passengers were being asked to check on the status of their flight with the airlines.

Comments (5)

  • NJP


    Hope it wasn’t a career limiting move for someone:
    “…what does this button do?…oops shouldn’t have pressed it”

  • Thatcher


    LOL, for their sake I hope it wasn’t a roll out of new or updated software, rolled out first at the busiest airport.

  • Steve


    This sort of thing shouldn’t happen at a major port like Sydney . You would have thought there was some sort of backup but there wasn’t.

    No one flight departed for Sydney between 0600-0730. With only a handful of departures. What a joke

  • Ben


    There is no ‘backup’ if you can’t open additional consoles when the morning shift arrives. There is only a limited amount of traffic you can safely move when you are stuck on one console only. Especially when you have technical people milling about rebooting machines and swapping out parts to try to get things back online. Ground stop is the safest way to handle it.

    You have to be realistic, everything is now handled by computers and sometimes they fail. I think this type of failure (where you can’t re-sectorise the airspace) has only happened twice in TAAATS’ history. Not bad for a system that was designed in the mid-90’s and has been operating for nearly 20 years!

  • Dave


    I was delayed in the QF terminal for 3 1/2 hours and I thought the level of customer service and information provided was great. Sure it was annoying but credit where credit is due, everyone knew more or less how long the delay was, and the particular situation with my flight (crew were coming from Melb) was explained to everyone. Well done in a bad situation.

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