Officials at major Australian city and regional airports are asking travellers to arrive early to check in for flights with airports expected to be at their busiest levels over the Easter period, with two consecutive long weekends.
Sydney Airport saw chaos this week due to staff shortages caused by COVID-19 leading to delays and stranded passengers. That airport is expecting around 82,000 travellers to pass through their security gates and check in counters over Easter.
Officials have asked passengers to arrive at least two hours early at Sydney Airport.
“I know it’s a difficult message to hear but Thursday is going to be another tough day for travellers, and I want to apologise in advance to anyone who is inconvenienced,” said Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert.
Melbourne Airport is forecast to see around 380,000 people go through over the next five days. Adelaide Airport expects 25,000 travellers to enter its recently expanded terminal on Thursday and a similar number on Friday. While Brisbane Airport expects around 50,000 passengers.
With the school holidays, Easter long weekend, and ANZAC Day long weekend converging over this year’s Easter period, other regional airports are expected to be busy as well.
Gold Coast’s regional airport is expecting 28,000 seats scheduled on April 18, Easter Monday. That could mean 24,000 passengers in and out of the airport.
More than 19,000 passengers travelled through Gold Coast Airport on April 3, which was the second busiest day since the pandemic began.
“It is fantastic to see numbers recovering at this pace after two challenging years for the airport and tourism sector we support,” said Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills.
“After a challenging two years, confidence in travel is returning, and the region is seeing the benefits of the leisure market recovery in particular,” he added.
The Easter period will be boosted by the return of the Jetstar Gold Coast-Auckland service on April 13, after the New Zealand Government introduced two-way quarantine-free travel for Australians and New Zealanders who are vaccinated from 11.59 p.m. on April 12.
April 2022 is expected to be Gold Coast Airport’s busiest time since the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
In the north of the country, Cairns Airport has also asked travellers to allow “plenty of extra travel time” as it was expecting its busiest day in the Domestic Terminal in over two years.
Cairns Airport expects its busiest day in over two years on April 14, the day before Good Friday, with over 14,000 passengers expected to travel through the Domestic Terminal. Those high numbers are expected to continue over the Easter weekend.
In April, the far north regional airport anticipates, for the first time, over 300,000 domestic passengers in any month since the pandemic struck.
Meanwhile, an official from Canberra Airport told The Epoch Times that around 8,000 to 9,000 travellers per day were passing through their gates.
Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond said after two years of constant disruptions to peak holiday periods from lockdowns and border restrictions, the surge in holiday bookings this Easter was welcome.
“The pent-up demand created by the Omicron outbreak ruining the Christmas and summer holiday plans of many … is also helping to drive the travel rush,” she said.