Flight delays and diversions due to bad weather will be significantly reduced at Sydney Airport after an upgrade of the airport’s low-visibility operations to Category 2.
The upgrade from Category 1 means authorised aircraft are now able to land with just 350 metres of visibility, a significant improvement on the 1500 metres previously required.
The upgrade comes after a multi-million dollar investment from Sydney Airport, including new high-intensity approach lighting systems that allow more planes to land in adverse weather.
Airservices Australia also played an important role in upgrading the instrument landing system that helps to guide aircraft to runways, particularly during low-visibility weather such as fog.
Flight delays and diversions have a domino effect, with diverted flights from Sydney stretching the capacity of other airports, such as Brisbane and Melbourne. Fewer flight diversions and knock-on delays will save the airport and local industry millions of dollars each year, and enhance safety.
Joe Hain, CASA Aerodrome Inspector, in cooperation with many other CASA officers, has worked extensively on the project and is excited about the improvement in safety. ‘All those people catching flights who would have been delayed by fog in the past can now land and get on with their business,’ he said.
The odds of Sydney-bound long-haul aircraft needing to divert to other ports due to fog will be greatly reduced. ‘This potentially saves thousands of man-hours each year and will greatly improve safety aspects such as fatigue, not only for the pilots and crew, but also for the travelling public.’
CASA will also be working with Canberra Airport in the coming months to help reduce the effects of fog, which diverts hundreds of flights from the capital each year.
For more information on the recent upgrade at Sydney, please visit the Sydney Airport website.