Aviation

“We’re facing a perfect storm:” Sydney Airport apologises over hours-long queues as Alan Joyce blames passengers

Sydney Airports CEO has apologised after passengers reported hours-long queue times.

Footage and photos emerged of people waiting in long queues at Terminal 3, which services Qantas, and Terminal 2, which services Virgin, JetStar and Rex flights.

The airport blamed a combination of higher passenger numbers because of Easter and school holidays, a lack of security personnel, and travel-starved passengers forgetting basics such as removing their laptops from their bags before the screening.

Geoff Culbert, Sydney Airport’s CEO, apologised for the inconvenience.

“We’re facing a perfect storm at the moment. Traffic numbers are picking up, travellers are inexperienced after two years of not travelling, and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport,” Culbert said.

“We encourage everyone to get to the airport early and we ask everyone to be patient as the industry gets back on its feet.”

Adding his opinion to the matter was Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, who stated at a press conference that “our customers are not match fit.”

“I went through the airports on Wednesday and people forget they need to take out their laptops, they have to take out their aerosols … so that is taking longer to get through the queue.”

Joyce also blamed the COVID close-contact rules for creating high levels of absenteeism of up to 18 per cent.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a spokesperson said the “sheer volume of people” was causing the queues and advised travellers to arrive about two hours early to their flight over the next two weeks.

Mitch Dale, a man flying to Brisbane, described the chaotic queues to the Herald.

“The departures hall is just bedlam, full of lines that are seemingly random and impossible to distinguish if they’re for check-in or security,” he said.

“They just made an announcement that this is the busiest day Sydney Airport has had this year so far.

“I was definitely stressed – honestly didn’t think I had any chance of making my flight when I realised the lines going outside the building were for security.”

The line for security stretched outside the terminal into another building according to Dale.

“It was 40 minutes for me from the car to the plane using a check-in kiosk and checking a bag in,” Dale said.

“As far as I could tell all of the security points were open and staffed.”

A Sydney Airport spokesperson told Travel Weekly that its security contractor, Certis, is rebuilding its workforce as fast as possible, however, due to an extremely tight employment market it takes months to train screening staff to the required standard.

The spokesperson said Sydney Airport expects the situation to ease once it gets through the school holiday peak.


Featured Image: Long Queues at Sydney Airport (Michael Rowland/Twitter)



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