Does Melbourne Airport close when there is a storm?

Melbourne Airport doesn’t close during storms. However, if there is a lightning strike within 5 nautical miles (NM) of the airport, then all staff on the tarmac need to move to a safe area immediately. Airports are wide, open spaces, so lightning can be a real risk for anyone working or walking on the tarmac.

This means that there can be delays, as ground operations staff aren’t able to continue to load baggage onto aircraft or work on planes while there is a chance of lightning.

Aircraft might also be slowed by air traffic controllers to ensure safe arrivals and departures.

The safety of our workforce and passengers is always our first priority.

What is that siren I can hear?

When there is lightning within 5NM of Melbourne Airport, the lightning siren will sound. This alerts staff to the potential threat of lightning so that they can immediately leave the tarmac and move to a safe area.

The alarm will sound again when the threat of lightning strikes is cleared.

Why is there a delay with the weather isn't that bad?

While it may be sunny and clear in Melbourne, there could be storms or bad weather in other parts of Australia, which can affect flights arriving into or departing from Melbourne Airport.

Planes may need to divert around these storms to avoid turbulence or lightning strikes.

Check our website or the app or your airline’s app for the latest flight status information.

What happens when there are high winds?

High winds can also affect incoming and departing aircraft. Depending on the speed of the wind, air traffic controllers may change the runway that a plane uses or the direction that it lands or takes off in.

Generally, aircraft can safety take off or land during crosswinds events. However, when crosswinds reach a certain speed, ATC may nominate another runway or even divert to another airport until it is safe to land.