Passengers were hit with delays at Sydney airport on the first day of a school holiday period after its air traffic control collapsed due to a technical fault.
In a recording, one air traffic controller could be heard informing a pilot there had been a “total radar failure” and there would be “no movements” until the system was “reliable” once again, after it went down early on Monday morning (late on Sunday UK time).
The fault at Australia’s busiest airport was fixed after a few hours but caused “major disruption” in the morning and a backlog of flights left travellers facing delays into the evening.
Airservices Australia said the incident was down to a software failure and not a cyberattack.
“The software fault failed to convert from night-shift operations to day-shift operations,” it said in a statement.
“Consequently, one air traffic control console was operational for the morning peak when in normal circumstances six to eight consoles are operating.”
Other recordings published by ABC feature controllers and pilots discussing the outage.
One controller says: “Betcha never seen this place so quiet on a Monday morning.”
“Like a ghost town,” the pilot responds.