Up to 100 flights in and out of Sydney Airport are cancelled and dozens more are delayed as wind gusts hit the runways.
The airport and airlines have not stated how long it will take to clear the backlog, but passengers at the airport told the ABC that airlines had said it might take days for them to get another flight.
Only one of three runways was operating at Australia’s busiest airport due to gusts of nearly 60 kilometres per hour.
The winds are only affecting domestic flights. International flights are running as usual.
Air Services Australia warned there will be more flight cancellations later on Thursday due to the strong cross winds.
“A single runway is operating due to strong, gustily crosswinds and that’s forecast to last until [the airport’s] curfew tonight at 11:00pm,” a spokeswoman said.
Rosemary Barr from the Bureau of Meteorology said the winds would continue into the evening.
“We do tend to see variability in wind speed so they may abate and develop but we do expect the general strength of the wind to maintain for the next few hours into the evening,” he said.
Sarah Fulton from Air Services Australia said passengers should check their flight status with airlines before going to the airport.
“At this stage there is a slight improvement on conditions [tomorrow], but we will work with airlines to help passengers get to where they need to get to,” she said.
Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar, Tiger and REX were scrambling to reschedule passengers in and out of Sydney.
Elderly couple ‘rolls with the punches’
John and Margaret Morris were heading to Adelaide to catch a paddle steamer to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary when their flight to Adelaide was cancelled.
The pair, from the Hunter region, said they had called up the airline yesterday to confirm their flights but had no such courtesy in return.
“Nobody let us know by phone or anything that it has been cancelled,” Mr Morris said.
The octogenarians were in good spirits and hopeful their rebooked flight, scheduled for after 8:00pm, would be able to depart.
“You’ve just got to roll with the punches,” Mr Morris said.
Wollongong family Kim, Anabelle and Mia Fingland, were going to be heading to Queensland for a surf competition before their flights were cancelled.
The youngest, Mia, seemed more excited about their alternative travel arrangements.
“We’re going to stay in a hotel in Bondi,” she said.
Several sporting teams traveling on flights to and from the Harbour City for finals clashes, including NRL outfit Penrith and AFL teams West Coast and Sydney Swans, were not affected by the delays.