Cairns Airport escapes brunt of Cyclone Yasi

By John Walton, February 3 2011
Cairns Airport escapes brunt of Cyclone Yasi

The strongest winds of Cyclone Yasi passed south of Cairns and Cairns Airport, with the eye passing over Tully, nearly 150 km to the south. Yasi is still a dangerous Category 3 storm as it tracks inland towards Mount Isa over the course of Thursday.

Cairns and Townsville Airports are still closed. Travellers in and out of western Queensland regional business hub Mount Isa airport should expect delays and cancellations, and should stay in touch with their airline. 

The latest forecast track from the Bureau of Meteorology has Yasi moving west-southwest over Queensland, expected to be over Mount Isa as a Category 1 cyclone or a monsoon low by Friday morning. Severe flooding and high winds are expected across the area, which is a major mining hub.

In Cairns, only minor structural damage to buildings has been reported at this stage. A lower than expected storm surge is particularly welcome for Cairns Airport, expected to be a major staging post for the relief and cleanup operations. The airport is just 3 metres above sea level and under 100 metres from the coast, and had been at serious risk of severe water damage.

Some airlines flying to Cairns had yesterday hoped to resume flights as early as Friday, but are not expected to provide updates on their plans until concrete information about the state of Cairns Airport is released.

Australians outside Queensland who are concerned about the safety of people in the area can call 1300 993 191 to check. From overseas, ring +61 7 3055 6220.

Most airlines have waived their usual fees for changing flights for travellers affected by Tropical Cyclone Yasi. We've contacted all the major airlines and have a full roundup of their policies, with dates and the relevant terms and conditions

Business travellers overseas who are concerned about the situation back in Queensland can watch ABC News 24 streaming video online since ABC has lifted the "geoblock" preventing computers abroad from watching the news channel. 

After the geoblock is put back in place, our guide on how to watch Australian TV while overseas shows you how to get around the restriction using a VPN (virtual private network).

Australian Business Traveller will continue updating our news with specifics for the business traveller community at and on Twitter: @AusBT

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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