Passengers experience long delays at major Aussie airports due to IT problem

Apr 29, 2019
SmartGate passport control machines are reportedly down in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Source: Getty

An Australian Border Force (AFB) system outage has caused major delays in airports across the country, with thousands of passengers experiencing massive queues at immigration.

SmartGate passport control machines, which use facial recognition technology to check travellers’ identities, are reportedly down in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, causing lengthy delays.

A spokesperson from the AFB told Travel at 60 it was working to resolve an “IT system outage impacting inbound and outbound passenger processing at international airports”.

“The Australian Border Force (ABF) is working with the Department of Home Affairs to resolve an IT systems outage impacting inbound and outbound passenger processing at international airports.

Additional ABF staff have been deployed to process passengers and to minimise delays. Passengers are encouraged to arrive at airports early to allow additional time for processing.”

Meanwhile, Brisbane Airport took to Twitter to alert passengers that their systems have been affected and delays are expected.

“Due to nation wide outage of Border Force smart gates, delays are being experienced to arrivals and departures at the International Terminal,” the airport said in a statement. “We thank you for your patience at this time. Please check flight status with your airline.”

However, many angry passengers have taken to social media to vent their frustration over the outage.

“The SmartGate system is down at Sydney Airport and there are THOUSANDS of passengers waiting in line to be processed manually. This is going to take HOURS,” one commentator wrote.

Another added: “Emergency supplies are coming out at Sydney Airport. Feel like we’re going to be here a while.”

And a third wrote: “Not what we needed after a 17 hours overnight flight from Dallas!! Electronic customs machines not working, was hot & people getting cranky & pushy but @SydneyAirport did seem to have all hands on deck & we moved thru ok.”

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