‘Global issue’: Big delays for travellers at airports following passport processing issue


Queues at Auckland Airport are growing as airports around New Zealand experience a global issue with processing travellers’ passports.

Some domestic and international flights have been cancelled as a result.

An Auckland Airport spokesman confirmed Immigration New Zealand’s passport processing system was experiencing an outage on Tuesday afternoon.

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Queues started to pick up again around 5.30pm at Auckland Airport's international terminal.

MELANIE EARLEY/STUFF

Queues started to pick up again around 5.30pm at Auckland Airport’s international terminal.

A Wellington Airport spokesman said it was experiencing the same issue.

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Auckland Airport released a statement on Twitter: “Due to this being a global outage there is potential that it will impact incoming flights. Please check with your airline for the latest updates.”

At 5.30pm, queues at Auckland Airport were increasing at the international check-in again.

A couple travelling to Brisbane said they didn’t quite understand what had gone wrong with the check-in process but were glad airline staff were being careful with checking people in.

“Waiting in line is annoying but as long as we’re safe security-wise, we don’t mind.”

However, the couple said it was worrying that an outage like this, which is in place to identify terrorists and wanted people, could happen.

Immigration NZ general manager of border and visa operations Nicola Hogg said it was experiencing an outage with the Advance Passenger Processing (APP) system.

Hogg said when passengers checked in overseas, APP validated their entitlement to travel to or through New Zealand.

“This is a global system operated by SITA who are a multinational information technology company providing IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry.

“INZ has been advised by SITA that this is a global outage, affecting a number of countries.”

Some passengers said they had been waiting for at least three hours.

Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

Some passengers said they had been waiting for at least three hours.

Hogg said INZ was monitoring SITA’s progress in getting the system back up and running as soon as possible and was working with airlines to minimise disruption to travellers.

Long lines of passengers were queuing at check-in counters at the airport for a variety of different airlines. 

Many people had taken to sitting on their suitcases or the floor while they wait.

One family travelling home from Australia on a Qantas flight said they had been waiting in line for three hours.

Just some of the delayed or reschuduled flights coming into Auckland Airport on Tuesday afternoon.

SCREENSHOT

Just some of the delayed or reschuduled flights coming into Auckland Airport on Tuesday afternoon.

“Nobody seems to have any idea what’s going on. I’m getting pretty tired of waiting.”

A couple heading home to the Gold Coast on a Jetstar flight said they had been waiting in line for around 20 minutes so far.

“We’re not too fussed. The line is moving slowly but steadily so we’re just waiting to see what happens.”

Head Coach for the Brisbane Bullets basketball team, Andrej Lemanis, said his team was heading home from Auckland, and had also been waiting in line for about 20 minutes.

Lemanis said they weren’t too worried by the delays as they had no plans for the rest of the day.

The issue was global, affecting countries including New Zealand and Australia.

Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

The issue was global, affecting countries including New Zealand and Australia.

An Auckland Airport spokesman said the majority of airlines were able to manually process passports but it was a longer process and causing delays at check-in.

Passengers were advised to contact their airline for further information.

He said the airport was working with Immigration NZ, airlines and Government agencies to help people on their journey.

The spokesman said he was still working to find out when the problem began.

At 2pm, an announcement over the loudspeaker at Auckland Airport said there was a computer malfunction and operations would resume in 25 minutes.

Another announcement at 2.45pm said the issue stemmed from Immigration NZ.

“New Zealand passports are having to be manually processed causing delays,” the voice said.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the global outage of an IT system had it reverting to manual check-in processes for international departures.

“Customers are advised to check in at the airport and keep an eye on the Arrivals and Departures page for the latest information.”

As of 3pm, a number of flights coming into Auckland Airport were showing on its website as delayed or rescheduled.

This included a number of flights from Australia, Tonga and Shanghai.

Jetstar said an IT issue was affecting some of its airport systems and causing delays and cancellations of both domestic and international flights.

It advised travellers to look out for travel alerts for updates.

One woman at the airport said on social media site Twitter that computers were down “everywhere”.

“Already queued for an hour [and] not moved,” she said, “no one can check in.

“Not exactly what you expect when you’ve paid for business class. I should be in the lounge drinking champagne.”

Flights are delayed at Melbourne Airport and some passengers in Australia posted to social media. One said their outbound flights were delayed for up to two hours and there were “huge queues”.

A Jetstar Australia spokesperson confirmed to 7News an IT issue was affecting the airport systems in Melbourne resulting in “short delays”.

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