Dozens of flights cancelled at Sydney and Melbourne airports as industry struggles with staff shortages

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<span>Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Widespread flight cancellations across multiple airlines have frustrated travellers at Sydney and Melbourne airports on Monday, as the industry grapples with staffing shortages as well as a technology glitch that affected Qantas flights on Sunday.

Across Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Rex, 23 domestic flights were cancelled out of Sydney airport on Monday.

Of those, 15 flights were Melbourne-bound, with eight of those cancellations from Qantas.

Related: Australian travellers face more delays as airport baggage handlers threaten to strike

Virgin Australia cancelled eight flights from Sydney to locations including Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and the Gold Coast.

At Melbourne airport there were 12 domestic flight cancellations on Monday: seven from Qantas, four from Virgin and one from Jetstar.

Guardian Australia understands the cancellations were due to crew sickness, as cases of the flu and Covid-19 rise across the country.

Qantas was experiencing minor delays flowing on from an incident on Sunday, when a technical glitch delayed flights and led to passengers waiting on the tarmac and in terminals for over an hour.

One passenger expressed frustration on Twitter that an hour-and-a-half wait on the tarmac was close to the flight duration itself, while another said driving would have been quicker when the delay ticked over the two-hour mark.

Guardian Australia understands that international and domestic flights were affected by the glitch on Sunday.

On Monday, a Qantas spokesperson said: “We have resolved an IT issue that caused delays of around one hour for some flights on Sunday afternoon.”

A Virgin Australia Group spokesperson said: “We sincerely apologise to any guest impacted by delayed or cancelled services and we continue to work hard to ensure all guests reach their destination.”

The latest cancellations and delays added to ongoing challenges for the aviation industry, after international rankings revealed Sydney Airport was one of the worst for on-time performance and cancellations.

It comes as the first aircraft for new budget airline Bonza touched down on Monday morning at Sunshine Coast airport, which will become the airline’s home base.

The airline said in a statement that it’s working towards getting planes off the ground in September subject to regulatory approval.

“Additional aircraft will follow and ultimately support Bonza’s growth plans beyond its initial Sunshine Coast and Melbourne bases,” the company said.

The budget airline will service 27 domestic routes and estimated prices for flights will start from “$50 for each hour a customer is in the air”.

Bonza has appealed to the public to help name the plane. The overwhelming favourite on the company’s Instagram was “Planey McPlaneface” in a clear nod to Boaty McBoatface. The “purple rippa” was another option referencing the airline’s colours, as were “Bonza Bruce”, “‘Gympie Golden Gate” and “Stevo” in memory of Steve Irwin.