Brisbane and Sydney airports back to normal after dust storm

23 Sep 2009

Operations at Brisbane and Sydney Airports are back to normal at press time as the unprecedented dust storm, which affected Queensland and New South Wales all through today, cleared from these areas.

The unusual haze, which covered sections of Australia’s eastern seaboard with fine red dust, caused severe travel disruptions, a number of domestic flight cancellations, while international flights bound for Sydney were diverted to Brisbane and Melbourne. Olivia Wirth, head of Qantas corporate affairs, said that some of their domestic flights were able to land in Sydney but experienced long delays.

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport was down to one runway this morning. Airport spokesperson Michael Samaras was quoted by The Australian as saying: "Normally, when we go to low-visibility operations, it’s fog so it's absolutely dead still, there's no wind at all."

Due to the abnormal circumstances, Qantas has allowed passengers cancelling domestic flights today a refund or the opportunity to change their bookings without penalty. Jetstar is allowing changes up to Friday, September 25, 2009.

Margie T Logarta and Hongzuo Liu

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