Passport system fail causes big delays at Australia, NZ airports

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Passport system fail causes big delays at Australia, NZ airports
Credit: @jharleyaus

Updated: SITA blames third-party data centre outage.

Travellers planning to leave Australian international airports this morning are facing lengthy delays after the system that checks passports for international travellers fell over.

Airline staff have been forced to resort to manual check-in for passengers as a result of the system issues, which have meant long queues at counters across all Australian international departure terminals.

The issue lies with the SITA advance passenger processing system, used by airlines in Australia to clear international travellers and provide required travel information to the Immigration department.

The agency said it was deploying additional border force officers to "minimise the impact to passengers".

Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane airports have all confirmed being affected by the hours-long outage.

Travellers in New Zealand, whose airlines also use the SITA technology, are also affected. iTnews has sought further detail.

Just after 10am AEST Melbourne Airport advised the issue appeared to have been resolved but warned there would still be delays in passport processing as airlines work to clear the backlog of passengers.

International travellers are advised to check with their airlines for updates on individual flights.

Sydney Airport advised just after 11:30am AEST that airline check-in had resumed as normal.

Update 5:43pm: SITA attributed the outage to a "major telecom failure" in the UK for a "top provider to our data centre".

"In response, we implemented an alternative communications link and resumed services. Our team continues to monitor the situation," the firm said in a statement to iTnews.

"We regret any impact this incident has had on our customers and passengers.  

"We are currently conducting a full investigation to discover the root cause and though the service is currently restored, our team remains on high alert."

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