Aviation

Bushfire smoke and thunderstorms cause flight delays at Melbourne Airport

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

A combination of smoke and storms have caused delays at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport.

Melbourne Airport could face further delays today after the airport weathered a hazardous combination of smoke, associated with bushfires, and storms across Victoria on Wednesday.

Visibility issues reduced the airport to single runway operation for most of yesterday, while strong winds and lightning in the late afternoon forced airfield workers indoors, causing further delays to aircraft taxiing and flight departures.

Travellers reported delays as long as three to five hours on flights.

In a tweet, Melbourne Airport said that while both sets of conditions were “messing with the schedule”, it remained well and truly open, despite sources claiming the airport was closed.

A Melbourne Airport spokesman told Travel Weekly that these rumours caused an unknown number of Melbournians to miss flights.

He added the airport was and remains “absolutely open”.

A Qantas spokesperson confirmed to Travel Weekly that approximately 20 of its flights were cancelled yesterday due to the weather, adding that the airline awaits an operations update for today.

Jetstar did not confirm how many of its flights were affected on Wednesday, but said today’s operations have not been impacted.

Virgin Australia told Travel Weekly 30 of its flights were cancelled as a result of weather conditions, but confirmed there were no big disruptions for passengers early Thursday.

The conditions also caused the cancellation of eight Tigerair flights yesterday, a spokesman from the airline told Travel Weekly. No disruptions to today’s services are expected.

Airlines now, however, face the challenge of re-booking thousands of travellers left in Melbourne as a result of Wednesday’s flight cancellations and setbacks.

The likelihood of further delays at the airport remains a possibility, a Melbourne Airport spokesman told Travel Weekly.

For up-to-date information on conditions at the airport, travellers are advised to visit Melbourne Airport’s website or contact their airline for specific information.

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