Weather causes flight chaos

ABOUT 2000 people have been affected by flight cancellations and delays to and from Hamilton Island's Airport in the past ten days.

More than 10 flights were either cancelled or diverted since Tuesday last week. During this time Proserpine's Whitsunday Coast Airport has remained open and received a number of special services to help clear the backlog.

The trouble started on Tuesday, July 10 with flights to Hamilton Island from Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney diverted due to bad weather.

Last Thursday, July 12 the Cairns and Melbourne flights were diverted and all remaining flights cancelled until Saturday, July 14.

On Tuesday, July 17 the scenario was repeated with no flights landing or taking off. There was a further disruption yesterday with the Cairns flight unable to land.

Spokespersons from both Virgin Australia and Jetstar confirmed passengers were accommodated where necessary with many outward bound travellers flown out on additional services from other ports including Proserpine, Townsville and Mackay.

Whitsunday Coast Airport Business Development Manager Scott Waters confirmed five extra planes landed and departed at Proserpine as a result of the disruptions on Hamilton Island.

He said the weather had been quite unseasonable with low cloud affecting flights across the region.

"However on this occasion the airport's inland positioning, away from elevated terrain, has provided an opportunity for flights to arrive and depart as scheduled while at the same time assisting to clear the backlog of passengers stranded in the region.

"A similar event occurred in late June where the airport accepted a number of diversions from Hamilton Island Airport and once again we helped passengers from other airports in the region arrive at their final destination."


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