A software failure at Sydney’s domestic airport, caused school holiday passenger chaos around the country.

Brisbane Airport was still working to clear the backlog of delayed flights, this afternoon.

Ethan Gould reports.


Queues at Sydney Airport were long, travellers facing a wait of several hours.

VOX 1: “We haven’t really been told anything yet, just said it’s cancelled. Are you frustrated? Yes. What will you do now? Don’t know, at least it’s hot weather so you can go sit outside I guess.”

In Brisbane the queues may have been shorter, but the delays were still long.

The scene repeated at most major terminals.

Vox 2: “Massive inconvenience, causing a lot of back up. Got work so I’m coming late now. Meant to be there originally at 8, but not anymore so yeah massive stuff up.”

So what happened?

Sydney’s air traffic systems operations lost power around 5am.

That forced staff to revert to a manual process for all flights.

And the impact of that quickly escalated to other airports.

The glitch was resolved by mid-morning.

But for annoyed passengers, the fallout lasted most of the day.

VOX 3: “We saw some poor guy who’s going to Greece, and he’s pretty freaked out because his flight leaves at 11 from Melbourne.”

The organisation in charge of controlling Australia’s air traffic recently underwent cost cutting measures, meaning they now have 700 fewer staff.

While that’s not affecting aviation safety staff on the ground today were certainly feeling the sting.

All travellers are urged to check their flight status before they go to the airport.

Ethan Gould, QUT News.