Perth airport chaos as refuelling issue grounds flights

<span>Passengers at Perth airport posted on social media that planes had begun taking off by late Saturday morning.</span><span>Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images</span>
Passengers at Perth airport posted on social media that planes had begun taking off by late Saturday morning.Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images

A fuel supply issue at Perth Airport has forced the cancellation of 59 domestic and international flights as refuelling services have resumed on Saturday afternoon.

The issue began in the early hours of Saturday morning and involved “low pressure” which prevented aircraft from being refuelled. Nine international flights were initially cancelled, alongside five domestic flights, with more expected to be abandoned as the issue cascades through the airport’s timetable.

Related: Plane makes ‘wheels-up’ emergency landing at Newcastle airport after circling for hours

An airport spokesperson said on Saturday “external experts” had resolved the issue and staff would “continue to monitor the situation closely in the event of any further issues”.

“Perth Airport will now work with our airline partners to help clear a backlog of flights and get passengers on their way,” a spokesperson said.

“We again thank both passengers and our airline partners for their patience and understanding.”

Earlier in the day, airlines were advised to avoid sending aircraft to Perth airport unless they were carrying enough fuel to make the return journey.

The disruption comes as Western Australia heads into a long weekend with a public holiday on Monday

The airport apologised for the disruption in a statement on Saturday morning, with a spokesperson saying “we understand this has been a difficult and frustrating morning for passengers and our airline partners”.

Natalie Forrest, a presenter with Ten news, was among those caught up in the chaos. In a post on social media, Forrest said she had been stuck in Perth since midnight and that it “seems ridiculous” there was no backup standby pump for fuel issues.

Other passengers reported missing their connecting flights or finding themselves stranded on the other side of the country in Brisbane and Sydney with no outbound domestic flights running to Perth.

One user called for whoever “runs this joint” to be sacked and another described airport management as “a bunch of clowns”.

Passengers reported on social media that planes had begun taking off by late Saturday morning, but expressed frustration at the prospect of waiting for the backlog to clear.