Wild weather, staff shortages cause air travel chaos in Australia

Sydney, Sep 8 (EFE).- Dozens of flights were canceled or delayed on Friday at airports in Australia’s three largest cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane due to wild weather and staff shortages.

Between Thursday night and Friday morning, Virgin Australia had canceled 38 flights amid bad weather conditions and a shortage of personnel in control towers, a spokesman said.

“Weather, ATC (air traffic controller) shortages and engineering requirements have resulted in cancellations across the network today. We sincerely apologize to our guests for the inconvenience,” the spokesperson said, adding that the company expects flights to be affected throughout the day.

In Sydney, where operations have been reduced to a single runway, at least 65 flight arrivals or departures were canceled, while delays and cancellations were also recorded in Melbourne, due to bad weather, and Brisbane, due to a lack of air traffic controllers, according to local media.

Airlines Qantas and Jetstar also confirmed that some of their flights suffered alterations.

Disgruntled travelers took to social media to complain about the situation at airports and criticized the lack of information and assistance from airlines.

Authorities issued an alert Friday for “severe” weather conditions on the east coast of Australia and asked citizens to be cautious throughout the day, although they predicted that the intense winds and isolated storms should soften at the end of the day in both Sydney and Melbourne.

On Friday morning, a storm caused damage to homes and other structures in various parts of Australia’s largest city and other eastern areas of the country.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the intense winds and storms are caused by a severe cold front that is now moving out to sea. EFE


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