Fire alarm at Sydney Airport grounds planes at Australia's busiest airport

Photo: William West/ AFP/ Getty Images.
  • The air traffic control tower at Sydney Airport was evacuated on Friday morning following reports of smoke.
  • Some departures were delayed, while some arrivals were diverted.
  • The cause of the smoke has not been confirmed, but one report said a possible short circuit caused a light haze, which in turn set off the fire alarm.

A report of smoke in the control tower of Sydney Airport caused led to flight delays and diversions at Australia’s busiest airport on Friday.

Some inbound flights were unable to land and outbound flights were temporarily grounded.

It was initially reported there was a fire in the tower, but Fire and Rescue Superintendent Bryce Jonas told The Daily Telegraph that a possible short circuit caused a light haze, which in turn set off the fire alarm.

At 12:03pm, Air Services Australia, an air navigation service provider, tweeted that the control tower had been evacuated and that there was a full ground stop in place.

In an update at 12:15pm, Air Services Australia said: “Air Traffic Control in Sydney are now processing arrivals. Aircraft are landing albeit a slower rate. Nil departures at this time.”

At 12:37pm, the same account tweeted: “Firefighters have cleared staff to return to the Tower. We expect to be operational in the next 10 mins.”

Over half an hour later, at 1:19pm, Air Services Australia said: “We are fully back to operations at Sydney Tower. Departures are running smoothly. All restrictions lifted.”

The tweets were retweeted by the official Sydney Airport Twitter account.

A Qantas spokesperson told Business Insider Australia: “Flights to and from Sydney Airport have resumed following an evacuation at the Air Traffic Control Tower this morning.

“Thankfully, the disruption occurred at a quieter part of the day, however, there may be some delays for customers of up to two hours as all airlines work to get back to their normal schedules.”

Sydney Airport did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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