Operations resume at Sydney Airport after air traffic control evacuated

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Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport’s (SYD) control tower was evacuated in the morning of January 29, 2023, due to gas fumes pouring out through the tower’s air conditioning system.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that one truck from the Fire and Rescue New South Wales agency was on scene for about 10 minutes for a “minor leak of refrigerant gas”.

While no injury or casualties were reported, the tower was evacuated for an hour, and two international flights had to be diverted: 

  • United Airlines flight UA863 from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to SYD airport was diverted to Brisbane International Airport (BNE)
  • United Airlines flight UA101 from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)  to SYD Airport landed in Canberra Airport (CBR). 

“No one was harmed in the incident,” Airservices Australia said in a statement seen by local media and issued shortly before 09:00 local time on January 29, 2023. 

“All air traffic management services have now been restored,” the airport service provider further said.

author avatar
Jean Carmela Lim
Journalist[br][br]Jean is a member of AeroTime’s editorial team, working as an aviation writer and based in Manila, Philippines. Previously, she worked in operational aviation roles in Manila, Philippines and Seoul, South Korea before moving to Australia to work in corporate and government travel. In 2012, Jean established her own luxury and adventure travel blog, Holy Smithereens. She is also a contributor for World Travel Market London, one of the biggest annual events in the travel sector. She covers trends and issues in hospitality and luxury travel for a B2B market, interviewing key personalities in the industry.
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