More than 36 departures were cancelled at Sydney Airport today, and over 120 delayed, following the closure of two of its runways due to adverse weather.
The two parallel north-south runways were shut down, leaving the east-west runway the only one in operation, after the airport was impacted by strong winds early this morning. The runways were reopened by noon as south-westerly winds eased.
An Airservices Australia spokesperson told Australian Aviation that, despite texts to Qantas passengers seen by News.com.au claiming that there was a shortage of air traffic controllers, the single-runway operation decision was made solely for safety reasons due to the crosswinds.
“Airservices Australia is calling on Qantas to contact customers incorrectly informed that flights were delayed at Sydney Airport this morning due to air traffic controller shortages to advise that it was strong crosswinds that resulted in delays.
“Qantas mistakenly informed their customers despite being advised last night that strong crosswinds were likely to result in single runway operations at Sydney.
“This decision was purely weather-related – crosswinds on the parallel runways were up to 56 km/h and stronger gusts are possible. Safety is Airservices’ number one remit,” the spokesperson said.
At time of writing, the average delay for Sydney Airport departures was 41 minutes and 39 minutes for arrivals, according to FlightRadar24.