Flight disruption nationwide caused by two absent Sydney air traffic controllers, Senate hears

Airservices Australia faces questions in estimates about Monday’s delays and cancellations as agency’s CEO defends his almost $1m salary

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Two air traffic controllers who didn’t show up for work at Sydney airport on Monday caused cascading flight delays and cancellations across the country, while the head of the agency responsible for airspace management defended his almost $1m salary, Senate estimates heard on Monday.

Officials from Airservices Australia, the government agency responsible for air traffic control and airport firefighting services, appeared before the transport and infrastructure Senate estimates. Its CEO, Jason Harfield, was grilled about his personal pay, concerns of organisational bullying, and stubborn staff shortages resulting from a retirement program that saw 140 controllers leave the workforce in 2021.

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