The airport doesn't close during storms. However, the use of the runways and aprons may be slowed for safety reasons particularly when there is lightning within 5 nautical miles of the airport. Find out more about what happens at the airport during storms.
Does the airport close during a storm?
No, the airport doesn’t close. However, the use of the runways and the aprons may be slowed for safety reasons. This means flight departures and arrivals can be delayed. How long the delays are depends on the severity of the storm, and whether or not it’s a busy time with lots of flights scheduled.
The weather isn’t so bad at the airport - so why are there delays?
If there’s severe weather on any of the major flight paths into Brisbane, planes may be slowed to avoid it, or diverted around it. Where there’s bad weather at one of our major connecting airports like Sydney, the delays at that airport may flow on to us.
What are storm warning lights and what do they mean?
Out on the airfield there are storm warning lights which alert ground crews to storm activity.
White storm lights indicate there’s storm activity within 10 nautical miles of the airport and place all crews on alert.
Blue storm lights indicate storm activity is within 5 nautical miles of the airport and airline crew, ground crew and airport staff need to leave the tarmac immediately. Whilst aircraft may still be landing and taking off, services such as baggage handling, catering, refuelling, cleaning and maintenance are suspended.
Why the worry about lightning?
Given that airfields are wide, open spaces, the increased chance of lightning strikes poses a real risk for anyone walking out on the tarmac. The safety of passengers and crew is our first priority.
What to do in a weather event?
- Be patient, the airport remains open and airlines will continue to arrive and depart until the weather starts to impact flights.
- Check flight status with your airline, they are best placed to advise on updates to scheduled flights.
Watch these videos to learn more:
This video by Virgin Australia goes to more depth about how thunderstorms affects flying and looks at weather patterns, air traffic control and discusses potential knock on effects from storms in a different airport.