Melbourne Airport: Security breach at Qantas terminal, major flight delays

A major security breach has sparked chaos at Melbourne airport creating major delays for morning passengers.

Thousands of Qantas passengers were ordered off flights and back inside the terminal to be re-screened shortly before 6.30am on Tuesday.

“A passenger appears to have inadvertently passed from an unscreened area to a screened area of the airport in Melbourne,” a Qantas spokesman said.

“As a precaution all Qantas operations have been put on hold and passengers in the terminal are being rescreened, which is causing delays to some services this morning.

The airline has apologised to its customers for the inconvenience caused by the breach.

“Safety is our number one priority, but we know this disruption is causing some inconvenience for our passengers and we apologise for that. We are investigating how this incident occurred.”

Passenger Tim Joyce had already boarded a packed plane when the aircrew informed them they would need to evacuate the terminal and be sent back through security screening.

“It seems quite serious. There are thousands of people waiting,” he told the Today Show.

“They’ve pretty much roped everything off. Everything is shut down and everyone has to be re-screened,” he said.

He said the passengers are being rescreened on a boarding priority basis.

“Essentially they’ve communicated that people will be screened on a boarding basis from now on, so the next flight out will be screened first.”

At least ten flights have been delayed and one 6.30am flight to the Gold Coast was cancelled.

The breach is likely to cause flow-on effects in airports across the country throughout the morning.

It is not the first time that a breach of this kind has occurred at an Australian airport this year.

Passengers on an evening Qantas flight from Sydney to Melbourne last month were escorted off the plane by police after one passenger managed to bypass the security screening.

A Qantas spokesman said at the time that a passenger boarded the flight after “inadvertently passing from an ‘unscreened’ to a ‘screened’ part of the airport in Sydney.”

The error was not discovered until the flight was already in the air.

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