Chaos at Sydney airport as power outage delays international flights

Thousands of international airline passengers were delayed in Sydney after a power outage disrupted dozens of flights on Saturday.

Power was lost at the international terminal from about 9.40-11am today, delaying dozens of flights for most of the day, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Customs, security screening and baggage handling procedures were brought to a standstill as frustrated passengers were forced to wait for hours before they became aware of the cause of the problem, ABC reports.

The Sydney Airport Corporation was forced to apologize to the airline passengers and an investigation into the debacle is underway, it says.

Back-up generators also took some time to come on, compounding the problem, SMH reports.

At the height of the disruption, long queues of passengers waited to check in for international flights and large groups of people were gathered outside the Customs area, which was shut down, ABC reports.

Passengers complained they would miss connecting overseas flights and were critical of the airport's handling of the situation, especially the lack of information.

"Very very disorganized, can't really hear the announcements either.. it's quite muffled," one passenger said.

"Sydney Airport's corporation could not organize a chicken raffle. There was no water out there, there were no ambulance officers, little or no information - it was appalling," said another.

However, a spokesman for the Sydney Airport Corporation said it was doing everything it could to resume services.

"Sydney Airport is now doing its utmost to return the terminal to 100 per cent operation and is working closely with airlines, border agencies and government authorities to restore normal operations."

An investigation into the cause of the outage was underway but the main focus on Saturday was to restore services and get people onto flights as soon as possible.

Stranded passengers voiced their frustration on Twitter.

"Absolute chaos at Sydney airport. Am definitely going to need that massage when I get to Bali," one passenger wrote on the microblogging site.

"Check in isn't working, power outage, computers down. Line hasn't moved for 2 hours," wrote another, while another said: "someone obviously forgot to pay the electricity bill".