Lengthy delays at airports continue as Easter approaches

Aussies keen on a long-awaited holiday are enduring airport delays, queues and cancellations and the bad news is it’s expected to continue.

Australian travelers can expect long delays for most of April, as the chaotic scenes at Sydney Airport continue for a sixth straight day.

The public has returned to airports en masse over the Easter and school holiday period with borders now open.

But it has led to long delays, long lines that snake outside the building, problems checking in and canceled or missed flights.

Similar issues have also been happening at Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast airports.

At Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on Monday, Easter and Grand Prix travelers dealt with long delays and numerous changes to flights, with Nine reporting that people slept at the airport overnight so they did not miss their flight.

The issues the airport was already dealing with were exacerbated when a Qantas luggage belt broke down, causing further frustrations for customers.

These issues could continue until the end of the month with the Anzac Day long weekend still to come and school holidays in Queensland (April 18), Victoria and NSW (April 25) finishing later in April.

The advice to customers from Sydney and Melbourne airports and Qantas has been to arrive two hours before a domestic flight to ensure they catch their plane on time.

But many travelers have reported lengthy delays at check-in, through the terminal, as well as further setbacks when they wait to board their flight, on the tarmac, in the air and with their baggage after they arrive.

“The Easter and Anzac Day long weekends are going to be busy again, and we’re advising travelers to arrive at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international,” a Sydney Airport spokesperson told Nine.

A high level of absenteeism among workers due to Covid protocols and mandatory isolation is one of the main issues, leaving airports understaffed during one of the busiest times of the year.

“You have 15 per cent of cabin crew typically on reserve on backup, on standby, where you are getting up to 30 per cent of people not turning up because of Covid or close contacts,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce told The Today show on Monday.

Sydney Airport is also facing similar staffing issues according to its chief executive Geoff Culbert.

“We are 30 per cent down in our security staff at the moment,” he told Sunrise on Tuesday.

“We are operating at 60 per cent of staff capacity and dealing with 80 to 90 per cent of pre-COVID-19 passenger numbers.”

Mr Joyce has also blamed returning travellers, in part, for the long delays, calling them “not match fit” on Friday and “rusty” on ABC News Breakfast on Monday.

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