Massive queues have formed at airports and holidaymakers are being told to arrive three hours early as staff shortages spark travel chaos ahead of the long weekend.
Thousands of passengers have been forced to wait hours to check-in as long lines formed in the terminals and stretched out the door at Sydney Airport at 6am on Friday.
Some 80,000 travelers are expected to pass through the airport throughout the day with another 95,000 travelers through Melbourne Airport – leading to similar scenes of chaos in the early hours of the morning.
Airline workers are bracing for their busiest day since the start of the Covid pandemic and have been struggling to cope with the massive influx of travelers as staff shortages cripple the industry.
Sydney Airport is set to host a jobs fair next Thursday in hopes of filling in 5,000 vacancies in just three weeks to avoid more chaos during the upcoming school holidays.
Massive queues have formed at Sydney Airport sparking travel chaos ahead of the long weekend
Travelers have been told to arrive at least two hours before their departure time as airport staff struggle to cope with the massive influx.
Greens senator David Shoebridge was among the crowd waiting to board a flight from Sydney to Melbourne.
‘Another holiday and another meltdown at Sydney’s privatized airport,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘Massive queue for bag drop then another one for security. They knew in advance how many people were coming because they sold tickets. ‘
One traveler headed for Melbourne described the scenes of chaos as ‘stressful’.
Another person wrote on Twitter: ‘Allow some extra time if you’re heading to the Sydney airport this morning.
‘Long check-in lines as thousands are expected to travel for the long weekend.’
One holidaymaker said they had arrived three hours early and still weren’t certain if they would make their flight.
‘#Sydney airport is utter bedlam this morning,’ she wrote.
Thousands of passengers have been forced to wait hours to check-in as long lines formed in the terminals and stretched out the door at 6am on Friday
‘Bag drops are even melting down, queues to join queues. Glad I’m here 3 hours early but still may not make it. ‘
Sydney Airport will hold a massive jobs fair next Thursday as it ‘urgently’ recruits staff to cope with the influx of passengers hoping to get away after two years of border closures from the Covid pandemic.
Security, baggage handling, government agencies, airlines, hospitality and retail are among the roles that will be advertised.
There are around 800 businesses all operating at Sydney Airport, with mandatory masks inside the terminals.
The fair will run between the hours of 10am and 4pm and is taking place in the T1 International Terminal.
‘The jobs fair will give you an opportunity to talk to different employers at the airport. Over 40 businesses will be joining us on the day, ‘the airport said.
Travelers have been told to arrive at least two hours before their departure time as airport staff struggle to cope with the massive influx
The urgent callout for staff comes after countless passengers complained about huge wait times before boarding their flights, and even longer delays trying to get their passports.
At the end of April passengers at Sydney Airport were seen waiting in lines that stretched to up to 300 meters long, as queues snaked around the security checkpoints.
Similar delays were seen earlier that month for travelers planning a trip for the start of school holidays with queues stretching to one kilometer long.
Passengers complained of missing their flights while some claimed the long hold-up in the terminals was worsened by queue jumpers barging to the front of the lines.
Airport bosses blamed school holidays, a shortage of security personnel and, remarkably, forgetful passengers out of the habit of removing items from their luggage for scanning.
More recently those wanting to travel abroad have been set back by massive delays in getting their passports, or having them renewed.
A computer system crash added to the chaos at Sydney Passport Office on Tuesday
Some have been waiting three months to get their passports, with many fearing they’ll have to postpone or cancel their holidays altogether.
Sydney university student Ed Andronicus has been waiting nine weeks for his new passport which he needs when he travels to Bali next month.
A technical glitch at the city’s passport office on Tuesday made it all the more difficult, with some residents waiting all day just to be turned away.
‘Been waiting at Sydney passport office for almost nine hours today. No communication about what is going on, people being turned away who have been waiting all day with flights tomorrow, because the printers have been turned off now (they were meant to close at 4pm). Appalling, ‘one woman fumed.