SINGAPORE - A Singapore Airlines (SIA) return flight to Australia was re-routed on Thursday (Jan 23) after Canberra Airport was closed due to nearby bush fires.
Although the terminal of Canberra airport was not evacuated, flight activities were suspended from about 9am (12pm Australia time) to 3pm to facilitate aerial firefighting.
Fuelled by high temperatures and strong winds, new fires had broken out across several areas in eastern Australia - including near Canberra Airport - on Thursday, ending a period of respite following several days of rains and cooler weather.
SIA flight SQ288, which was initially scheduled to depart Sydney at 9.35pm local time for Canberra, before arriving in Singapore at 5am on Friday, will now fly from Sydney to Changi Airport directly, the carrier said on Thursday.
It has been retimed to depart Sydney at 9.30pm local time and is expected to arrive in Singapore at 2.30am on Friday.
"SIA will assist to rebook customers affected by the flight disruption. We are monitoring the situation closely, and will make appropriate adjustments to subsequent flights if necessary," the airline said.
Only Qantas will continue to operate flights to Canberra for the rest of the day, with other airlines such as Virgin also electing to cancel flights for Thursday, according to The Guardian.
Since September, hundreds of wildfires in Australia have killed 29 people as well as an estimated 1 billion native animals, while incinerating 2,500 homes and a total area of bush land one-third the size of Germany.
On Thursday, three American residents lost their lives in an accident after a water-bombing plane they were operating crashed in Australia's south-east while fighting the fires in New South Wales.
There is no indication at this stage of what caused the accident.