Australia’s major airports have warned travellers to expect long delays over the Easter holiday period as the country prepares to celebrate the holiday for the first time in two years without major quarantine measures in place.
Airports are anticipating long check-in queues and flight delays as travel ramps up once again. They are suggesting travellers arrive as early as two hours before their flight.
Sydney Airport General Manager of Operations Greg Hay said “domestic passenger numbers have nearly doubled over the past six months.”
“We are anticipating this Easter school holidays to be the busiest the airport’s been since the start of the pandemic,” he said.
“To help manage queues at security checkpoints and make sure everyone gets away on time, we’re encouraging domestic travellers to arrive two hours ahead of their scheduled departure.
“We know arriving two hours ahead is going to mean some early starts but we want to see everyone clear security quickly and safely and get to where they’re going.”
The school holiday period will be the busiest in two years.
Please arrive 2 hours before your domestic flight to ensure you can depart quickly and safely. https://t.co/JK47jTABPG
We appreciate your patience. pic.twitter.com/0ixUoW5UJL
— Sydney Airport (@SydneyAirport) March 27, 2022
Hay said that it’s clear people haven’t been through airport security for some time, which is contributing to the delays.
“We’ve also noticed people are a little out of practice with security protocols, for example not taking laptops and aerosols out of their bag at screening points, which is contributing to the queues,” he said.
“Safety is the most important thing at Sydney Airport, and we want to thank everyone who is travelling during the Easter school holidays for their patience.”
Traveller reported that Brisbane Airport Corporation’s Rachel Bronish urged passengers to make time conscious decisions like checking in online.
“If you are planning on driving to the airport, we recommend you jump online and book your car parking spot as far in advance as possible as parking demand has surged beyond usual numbers in recent weeks,” Bronish said.
“Ground staff and security personnel will be working hard to minimise congestion, but we ask passengers to pack their patience and be courteous throughout their travels.”
The warning comes as chaotic scenes out of Sydney Airport on Friday 8, show huge queues leaving travellers with up to two-hour delays causing missed and grounded flights.
Despite the expected wait times, the travel industry is excited about the return to normalcy in travel and airports are working hard to fix staffing issues.
“The Covid 19 pandemic decimated the aviation industry and as we emerge, many airport operators, including our ground handlers, are rebuilding their workforces,” a Melbourne Airport spokesperson told the Herald Sun.
Long delays at airports are the latest blow to would-be travellers after experts warned airfares are expected to climb higher in the next couple of months as the price of a barrel of jet fuel continues to skyrocket, due in part to the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Recent data from travel search site Hopper shows that airfare has already increased 40% from the beginning of the year and will continue to rise 10% through May.
The price of jet fuel according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) currently costs $3.07 a gallon, making it at the highest price since January 2014.