Aviation

Airport chaos hits hard ahead of long weekend

Aussie travellers looking to fly over the long weekend will be in for a bit of a shock as long queues plague Melbourne and Sydney airports.

All of Australia, except Western Australia and Queensland, will enjoy a public holiday on Monday for the Queen’s Birthday, giving many Aussies a three-day weekend.

Victorian travellers appear to be heading to warmer climates as this colder-than-average winter leaves them a bit too chilly for comfort.

The ABC reported that Melbourne Airport was expecting 97,000 travellers to hit its terminals on Friday alone – making it the airport’s busiest day since the beginning of the pandemic.

Melbourne Airport spokesperson Andrew Lund recommended travellers arrive early.

“Certainly some check-in areas have been quite busy this morning,” Lund said.

“We’re advising people to arrive between one and two hours ahead of a domestic flight and two to three hours ahead of international flights.”

Road traffic into Melbourne airport was reportedly quite busy on Friday morning and Sydney traffic had banked up by 6am. There were queues snaking through the entire building and at one terminal the security screening line wrapped around outside.

80,000 travellers are expected to pass through Sydney airport on Friday, according to the ABC and some travellers have missed their flights despite arriving on time.

Data from KAYAK revealed that searches for travel for today are about 158 per cent higher than domestic searches for flights on any other day of the June long weekend travel period.

KAYAK saw a spike of around 258 per cent in domestic flight searches for travel over Queens Birthday weekend travel period, compared to 23 – 29 May.

“Aussies are making up for lost time when it comes to travel, and KAYAK is definitely seeing this play out with a big spike in search volumes across domestic flights for the upcoming long weekend,” KAYAK brand director Nicola Carmicheal.

“We recommend travellers plan ahead given the potential for airports to be very busy and possible travel delays like we saw over Easter.”

Another factor contributing towards airport chaos is the lack of workers.

Sydney Airport currently has job vacancies for about 5000 people across 800 organisations. The airports CEO said that about 15,000 jobs were lost when the pandemic first hit.

It will host a ‘jobs fair’ from next week to fill its vacancies and avoid chaos as the school holidays approach.

Melbourne Airport reported staff shortages, particularly within its baggage handling department.



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