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|August 17, 2000||
Sydney airport gets a makeover
Australia is taking urgent action to improve efficiency at Sydney airport before a mass influx for the 2000 Olympics next month, Transport Minister John Anderson said on Thursday.
A list of recommendations to solve air traffic control and baggage handling problems was made by independent experts, drafted in after two power failures in a month at the airport, the entry point for hundreds of thousands of Olympic visitors.
Anderson said Airservices Australia, the government-owned group responsible for air traffic, was confident it would "minimise the potential for future power outages at Sydney airport" by adhering to the recommendations.
"Airservices has done everything possible to enable the Sydney airport control centre to operate smoothly through the Olympics period and beyond," Anderson said in a statement.
He said the independent consultants, Quiggin Cook, noted the July 6 and August 1 power failures happened when parts of the supply system were disconnected for pre-Olympics maintainance so some backup systems were offline as problems arose.
The power cut in August caused delays in arrival and departure of planes and the July failure left 20 aircraft circling the city without contact with air traffic controllers for up to 15 minutes after knocking out main and back-up power.
"Quiggin Cook has advised that no further invasive maintenance and testing work should be carried out until after the Olympics. Airservices has accepted the recommendation," Anderson said.
He said Airservices had installed a third backup generator to provide additional emergency power and the shifts of six experienced electrical maintenance staff at the airport extended.
The airport has also experienced two software glitches with a newly installed baggage handling system in the past two months which delayed thousands of international passengers and caused as many as 2,000 bags to be mislaid.
The series of glitches raised concerns about the airport's ability to handle a massive rise in traffic when about 750,000 people from home and abroad pass through the airport for the September 15 to October 1 Games.
Mail Sports Editor
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