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

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Widespread flight cancellations across several airlines frustrated travelers 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 canceled from Sydney Airport on Monday.

Of these, 15 flights were to Melbourne, with eight of these cancellations by Qantas.

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

Virgin Australia canceled 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 illness, as cases of flu and Covid-19 rise across the country.

Qantas experienced minor delays as a result of an incident on Sunday, when a technical fault delayed flights and left passengers waiting on the tarmac and in terminals for over an hour.

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

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

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

A Virgin Australia Group spokesperson said: “We deeply apologize to any guest affected by delayed or canceled 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 flight for new budget airline Bonza landed on Monday morning at Sunshine Coast Airport, which will be the airline’s home base.

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

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

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

Bonza has appealed to the public to help name the plane. The overwhelming favorite 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 colors, as were “Bonza Bruce”, “‘Gympie Golden Gate” and “Stevo” in memory of Steve Irwin.

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