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Sydney ranked among worst airports for delays, cancellations

written by Hannah Dowling | July 26, 2022

The July school holidays has led to more big queues at Sydney (@joshgnosis)

Sydney Airport has ranked in the top 10 worst airports in the world for both flight cancellations and flight delays, as weather and a “technical issue” saw even greater, snaking lines on Monday.

According to new data released by FlightAware, Sydney Airport came in at number six in the top 10 worse airports for cancellations, after it clocked a 5.9 per cent cancellation rate over the last two months.

Australia’s largest gateway was also named number nine in the list of worst airports for flight delays, with 34.2 per cent of all flights delayed in the last two months.

The worst global contenders for cancellations included Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, which all saw more than 7 per cent flights cancellation since May, while Toronto Pearson International Airport was named the worst airport for delays, with over 50 per cent of all flights delayed.

The news comes after Sydney Airport saw its longest-ever lines for check-in, bag drop and security on Monday due to morning fog the caused flight delays, and an IT issue that slowed down security processing.

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“Heavy fog affected flights earlier this morning, and a technical issue has meant we’re temporarily operating one less security lane than normal in T2 Domestic,” a spokesperson for the airport said.

“We’re sorry about the queues and are working with airlines to get everyone on their way.”

It appears the queue lengths had returned to normal by Tuesday morning.

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Last week, Australian Aviation reported Australia’s airlines had recorded their worst-ever month for flight delays and cancellations in June, surpassing the previous record low result set just two months earlier during the Easter holidays in April.

The severe disruption was seen throughout the month as the industry continued to battle post-pandemic staff shortages. June’s issues were further fuelled by a mid-year school holiday travel surge and severe weather events, including flash flooding throughout NSW.

According to data released by the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE), just 63.0 per cent of all flights arrived on time in June, while 61.9 per cent departed on schedule.

Meanwhile, a total of 5.8 per cent of all flights were cancelled over the month, nearly three times more than the long-term cancellation average.

BITRE said these figures mark “the worst” the industry has seen since records began in November 2003. It comes just months after this record was previously set in April, as the airlines battled staff shortages amid the Easter and ANZAC Day long weekends.

Notably, June’s record-high rates of delays and cancellations come despite scheduling slightly fewer flights in June compared to April.

Airlines and airports around Australia — and the world — have been under fire for months due to a growing prevalence of last-minute flight delays and cancellations, lost baggage, and unprecedented snaking queues at airports.

The industry has chalked up the chaotic scenes to the “perfect storm” of pent-up travel demand, COVID-19 absences, and an underlying shortage of aviation staff.

Last month, Australian Aviation reported that the combination of heavy rain and school holidays had led to more disruption across Australia’s airports.

Sydney Airport previously warned it would welcome 2.1 million passengers across the June school holiday period — significantly higher than the 1.8 million seen during the equivalent Easter break.

Internationally, more than 560,000 passengers were forecast, compared to 376,000 during the three-week break period in April.

Later, Perth Airport warned travellers to travel to the airport in taxis and Ubers due to its 18,000-spot car park reaching full capacity, while holidaymakers continued to battle long queues and flight cancellations.

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