Thousands of Australians are grappling with disrupted Christmas travel plans as Cairns Airport, a major transportation hub, faces closure due to unprecedented flooding not witnessed in the region in 45 years. The closure, now the second in four days, follows the onslaught of ex-tropical Cyclone Jasper, which unleashed over 600mm of rain in far north Queensland.
Cairns, a popular holiday destination, finds itself transformed into ‘an island’ as vital roadways succumb to rising floodwaters, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of residents and tourists. The airport’s closure, a result of severe flooding, has left the situation in limbo, with authorities set to reassess conditions later in the day.
The unfolding crisis has yielded striking visuals, showcasing multiple aircraft submerged on the runway and encapsulating the severity of the flooding. Cairns Airport’s closure not only disrupts local travel but also impacts the broader Christmas travel plans for many, adding a layer of complexity to an already challenging holiday season.
‘Cairns is like an island,’ remarked Tropical Far North Queensland Tourism CEO Mark Olsen on the Today show. He emphasized the historic nature of the recent deluge, citing record rainfall in the catchment area, underscoring the magnitude of the challenge faced by the community.
As Australians grapple with the evolving situation, the closure of Cairns Airport serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictable and potent forces of nature, adding an unexpected chapter to this year’s festive season for both residents and holidaymakers.