Aviation

False asbestos alarm forces evacuation of Canberra’s air traffic control tower

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

It’s back to business as usual at Canberra Airport, after an asbestos scare at its air traffic control tower yesterday saw an evacuation of the building.

Airservices Australia said in a statement on Wednesday that equipment suspected of containing asbestos had been found in the air traffic control tower during routine maintenance.

“We subsequently evacuated the tower to ensure the safety of our air traffic controllers,” it said.

Airservices Australia said alternative air control services were put in place to ensure minimal disruption to services, but later revealed the scare as a false alarm.

“Testing has confirmed no asbestos has been found in the tower,” the government-owned corporation said in an updated statement, adding that air traffic controllers began returning to the tower at approximately 3:45pm.

Airservices Australia told Travel Weekly that the evacuation occurred for roughly an hour, starting at 2:45pm.

Neither Qantas nor Virgin Australia said their operations were affected during the evacuation. However, The Canberra Times reported at least one Qantas flight was called back to the Brisbane Airport terminal as a result.

Travel Weekly has contacted Qantas for further comment.

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