Passengers at Sydney Airport's Terminal 2 – home to Virgin Blue, Jetstar and Tiger Airways – are being evacuated following a "security breach", in echos of a similar incident which temporarily closed the Qantas and Jetstar terminal at Melbourne Airport earlier this month.
A Virgin Blue passenger told Australian Business Traveller that even aircraft which had already been boarded and were preparing for departure were evacuated, with passengers ordered off the flight and escorted back through the airport.
Coming at the start of the afternoon peak hour, thousands of passengers will now need to be re-screened by airport security. This is expected to delay departures through to the early evening, including departures from Melbourne which rely in the turnaround of incoming but now late-arriving aircraft from Sydney.
Meanwhile VirginBlue, Jetstar and Tiger Airways flights arriving at Sydney Airport are being held on tarmac and not permitted to dock at Terminal 2 or unload passengers until the airport has been confirmed as 'secure' once more.
The Terminal 2 breach was caused by the loss of power to a "security screening device" according to Sydney Airport spokesman Michael Samaras, which allowed over a dozen passengers to pass through the security channel "without being properly screened".
The airport chose to clear the terminal and re-screen all passengers, and Samaras says the airport "will be investigating the cause of the power loss to prevent a re-occurrence."