Karratha Airport has reopened this afternoon, following an unexpected closure due to damage sustained overnight as a result of Tropical Cyclone Damien.
A category three system, the cyclone brought intense winds and heavy rain to the region, causing damage to the airport terminal, which led to its closure during the busy Monday morning peak travel period.
Even though Tropical #CycloneDamien is rapidly weakening, there are still hazards associated with it due to strong winds and heavy rain. Stay up to date with all warnings here; https://t.co/YGxjTMmwVH @dfes_wa pic.twitter.com/ZW7xK2TIRo
— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) February 9, 2020PROMOTED CONTENT
As Western Australia’s second busiest airport, the facility caters for around 450,000 passengers annually and is a key gateway to the Pilbara. Served by both Qantas and Virgin Australia, the airport is a major hub for FIFO workers travelling to Western Australia’s north.
Located 14km from the city centre, the airport terminal was redeveloped in the early part of last decade, with the refreshed building officially opened by then-Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss on 25 September 2015.
The new terminal introduced a spacious and modern design to the facility, with an expanded check-in zone, enhanced security screening, improved departure amenities and greater space for airport lounges, with views over the apron.
According to the Karratha Airport’s Facebook Page, damage at the terminal included: “water damage and loss of electricity.”
The extent of the damage had led the airport to predict that it would remain closed for the duration of Monday 10 February, however following clean up and repair efforts the facility reopened at around 1 pm local time.
— Wendy (@WendyBirdOZ) February 10, 2020
The airport closure caused travel delays at Perth Airport, with run on impacts to both Qantas and Virgin Australia’s domestic schedules.
Delays ranged from 45 minutes (QF2648) to up to 8 hours and 16 minutes (QF906), while some flights were cancelled altogether, including two of Virgin Australia’s daily services and one Qantas flight.
Wind speed, wind gusts and atmospheric pressure as Severe #CycloneDamien crossed the coast over our #Karratha Airport weather station.
This highlights the dramatic changes as the eye moves over an area.
— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) February 9, 2020
The front has softened since making landfall and has since been downgraded from Tropical Cyclone status.
Despite the reduction in its severity, the Bureau of Meteorology advised via Twitter, that the remnants of the cyclone: “Continue to pose a threat for communities in its path, with a severe weather warning for heavy rain that may lead to flash flooding in the Pilbara and Gascoyne