Sydney Airport’s chief executive has blamed a “perfect storm” of COVID isolation, holiday demand and rusty travellers for causing long queues at the domestic terminal today.
“We would like to apologise to passengers who are being inconvenienced and would like to thank people who are getting to the airport early, wearing their masks and making sure they are prepared for their check-in and security processes,” said Geoff Culbert.
“Traffic numbers are picking up, travellers are inexperienced after two years of not travelling, and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport.
“We encourage everyone to get to the airport early and we ask everyone to be patient as the industry gets back on its feet.”
Angry travellers, however, have taken to social media to post photos and videos of the travel disruption, with many blaming the airport management for failing to anticipate the upcoming problem.
Brisbane Airport is also expecting its busiest day for domestic travel in two years, with nearly 52,000 people flying within Australia.
It follows calls from the Australian Airports Association for passengers to arrive in good time for their flights and maintain respectful behaviour.
“There may be different processes in place since the pandemic began including different security screening and check-in procedures as well as state health requirements,” said the organisation’s chief executive, James Goodwin.
“People are reminded that they should not travel if they are unwell and government mandates to wear facemasks in the terminal and on the aircraft are still in place.
Sydney Airport WTF pic.twitter.com/52nf2dlQoc
— Tom Steinfort (@tomsteinfort) April 7, 2022
“As we all get used to travelling again it’s also important any frustrations are not taken out on airport staff who are working harder than ever to assist passengers.”
The AAA said there was a “noticeable increase” in reports of bad behaviour and frustrations spilled over during COVID.
Nightmare queue @SydneyAirport Thousands spilling over into carpark next to terminal. Only one officer controlling the crowd. How many flights are going to be missed?? #nswpol #auspol pic.twitter.com/m9mVvBO97Q
— Sue Stephenson (@susanstevo) April 7, 2022
On Thursday, Australian Aviation reported how Gold Coast Airport is set to become Australia’s first major airport to fully recover from COVID, with passenger and flight numbers on course to beat pre-pandemic records over Easter.
The business is expecting 24,000 passengers to fly on Easter Monday – more than the all-time record set in the aftermath of the city’s Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Friend at Sydney Airport reports that for the second day running, security queues are absolutely untenable and causing chaos. pic.twitter.com/ei6OSh2hb0
— Leigh Sales (@leighsales) April 7, 2022
Queensland Airports chief executive Chris Mills said, “After a challenging two years, confidence in travel is returning, and the region is seeing the benefits of the leisure market recovery in particular.”
Already, more than 21,000 passengers have come through Gold Coast Airport on Friday 1 April, making it the busiest day of the year and the best since mid-March 2020.
Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide are still a long way off from returning to similar passenger or flight levels in total, with more usual reliance on international flying.