Sydney Airport grounds flights until further notice

This chaos comes as thousands of families prepare to head away on vacation for the school holidays

In a recording, one air traffic controller could be heard informing a pilot there had been a "total radar failure" and there would be "no movements" until the system was "reliable" once again, after it went down early on Monday morning (late on Sunday UK time).

It is also believed the data connection between Sydney and Melbourne is down.

Dozens of flights were cancelled while many more were experiencing delays of more than two hours, reports the ABC News.

Passengers were left facing hours of delays when the air traffic control software failed about 5am.

There were long queues at check-in and transfer desks.

Some of the country's major airlines have put on extra services to ease the disruption.

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Jan Ibbottson is on holidays from the United Kingdom and said it was frustrating her flight to the Gold Coast was cancelled.

Ms Ibbottson said the airlines had not handled the situation well. According to Twitter, scores of people were trapped in planes grounded on the tarmac - as manual traffic control systems can only allow a certain amount of flights to take off.

Her flight from Perth to Melbourne overnight was cancelled and she was put on a flight to Sydney. The report explained that without it, controllers can not see which plane is which.

ASA gave no further details but boards at the airport listed flights as "delayed due to ATC radar failure".

Potentially affected travellers should contact their airlines.

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