Airport crammed as Olympic visitors make way home
SYDNEY (Australia) - Capping a near-glitch-free Olympics, Sydney's international airport coped well Monday with its busiest day ever as teams and tourists streamed home.
``It is going very well, very smoothly,'' airport spokesman Eric Aubert told The Associated Press.
By 2 p.m. (0300 GMT) 18,200 people had left, most of them Olympics-related passengers, and another 12,800 had arrived. On a normal day, the airport handles fewer than 25,000 passengers.
The same blue sky that was the backdrop for much of the Olympic competition helped ensure that most flights got away without delay.
And those who had to wait a little longer than usual did so in good spirits.
``People are having to be a little more patient than they would normally be, but there is a lot of good will. The Olympic mood is staying on,'' Aubert said.
Sydney Airport, along with the rail network, was considered one of the host city's transport weak links.
In the weeks leading up to the Games, the airport's newly installed computerized baggage system suffered repeated malfunctions causing delays and inconvenience to travelers.
But, like the rail system, the airport appeared to have ironed out its glitches ahead of Sydney 2000.
About 44,000 people were expected to pass through the airport Monday.
People dressed as koalas and a four-piece brass band amused the passengers and airport staff wandered through the crowds handing out free cookies and bottles of water.
Air traffic has been building up over the past week, with tourists and some athletes leaving before the end of the games. - AP