Cyclone Yasi: delays to flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Canberra?

By John Walton , February 2 2011
Cyclone Yasi: delays to flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Canberra?

Travellers all around Australia should keep an eye out for flight delays and cancellations as Cyclone Yasi is set to sweep inland with winds covering an enormous area -- longer from north to south than Australia.

Even flights to airports far removed from the on-the-ground effects of Cyclone Yasi may need to fly around the storm, so travellers from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne should keep in close contact with their airline.

Many key airline routes to Asia and on to Europe pass through the area that may be off-limits, with Yasi's winds stretching across the entire length and breadth of Queensland after passing inland. 

In the image above, key airline routes are shown in red on the left hand side, with Yasi's projected track in orange. The sheer size of the cyclone's storm system is shown to the right.

Flights in smaller turboprop aircraft are likely to be particularly affected, so business travellers to Australia's regional airports should stay in contact with their airline.

Airlines are not yet releasing information about delays, but Australian Business Traveller has contacted airports across areas of Australia likely be affected to check on their status. Here's our roundup:

Brisbane Airport (BNE)

We talked to an airport spokeswoman, who confirmed that there are no delays or disruptions to the regular flight schedule other than cancellations to Far North Queensland airports in the path of the storm. Arrivals and departures boards show most flights on schedule, although flights from Asia were showing 30-45 minute delays just before 1200 Brisbane time.

Sydney Airport (SYD)

An airport spokesman tells us that Sydney is "not impacted by the cyclone in far northern Queensland". Arrivals and departures boards show most flights on schedule, with some 15-45 minute delays, mainly on flights from Asia, just before 1300 Sydney time.

Melbourne Airport (MEL)

Despite several calls and emails, no airport spokesperson was able to give us information. Flights from Asian destinations were showing delays of around 30-45 minutes just before 1300 Melbourne time.

Canberra Airport (CBR)

Flights into and out of Canberra seem to be running normally. We're awaiting a full statement from an airport representative, although a preliminary answer to our questions indicated few problems at Canberra. 

Further information on Cyclone Yasi

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 will be able to watch ABC News 24 streaming video live from 1300 AEDT today, once ABC lifts the "geoblock" preventing computers abroad from watching the news channel. 

Before that, our guide on how to watch Australian TV while overseas shows you how to get around the geoblock using a VPN (virtual private network).

Australian Business Traveller will continue updating our news with specifics for the business traveller community at ausbt.com.au 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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