Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport has been hit with delays amid severe thunderstorms lashing Victoria.
Passengers on one flight were told they could not take off because the airport was being closed about 4.30pm.
Others have reported being told the same thing.
“The pilot has told us 40 aircraft are trying to land in Melbourne and there will be no departures from Sydney to Melbourne until at least 6pm,” a passenger told news.com.au.
In a tweet, Melbourne Airport said the combination of smoke and storms was “messing with the schedule”.
It comes after the airport was forced down to a single runway, as heavy bushfire smoke continues to cover the city.
About 55 flights were cancelled earlier today, with strong winds also impacting landings and takeoffs.
The Bureau of Meteorology has warned “slow moving severe thunderstorms” are moving across central Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.
They say people can expect damaging winds, heavy rainfall and large hailstones, with some areas already being hit with hail.
Some parts of the state looking forward to rain received none at all.
“Full horror movie thunder cracks in the northern suburbs,” wrote one man on Twitter.
According to an airport spokesman, most of the impacted flights today have been from Sydney, Canberra and Launceston.
“More than 55 flights have been cancelled today as we have a lot of smoke in the area,” the spokesman told news.com.au earlier today.
“We are down to one runway but that’s because our runways intercept each other. If they were parallel, like in Sydney, we would have two going.”
The air quality and visibility hasn’t improved around the airport, with the spokesman saying flight delays and cancellations could continue until Thursday and Friday.
“Our advice is that anyone flying should check in with their airline.” he said, noting all cancellations had been domestic flights.
“There has been a number of cancellations today, and we expect to see some impact on flights tomorrow as well.”
Melbourne residents have been told they will have to wait another day until they can breathe easy again with air quality at hazardous levels for the second day running.
At 9am this morning, the air quality index in Melbourne was clocking in at 347, more than six times worse than the minimum healthy level. A “good” air quality index is under 50.
Forecasting predicts air quality will improve on Thursday, with air pollution levels expected to drop by midmorning.
Melbourne is the third major Australian city to be choked by impacted air quality due to smoke from bushfires, with both Sydney and Canberra suffering through some of the worst air pollution in the world.