Monday, 29 April 2019 09:18

SmartGate failure at airports leads to passenger pile-up

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SmartGate failure at airports leads to passenger pile-up Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

The automated passport control system known as SmartGate has failed at international airports around Australia, leading to a huge build-up of passengers both exiting and entering the country.

The passport control system went down at about 6am on Monday morning.

A spokesman for the Australian Border Force said it was working with the Home Affairs Department to try and "resolve an IT systems outage impacting inbound and outbound passenger processing at international airports".

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the ABF said: "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."

One passenger told the 3AW radio station she had been stuck in immigration queues at Melbourne Airport for half and hour and barely moved two metres.

"It seems as if all the e-machines have gone down, so they have to manually process everyone," she said.

“About four planes have landed, I reckon there’s 500-600 people here. It’s just ridiculous.”

Melbourne Airport said on Twitter: "Due to an @AusBorderForce e-gate system outage many international travellers are facing delays for both inbound & outbound processing. This may have a flow on effect inside security screening in Terminal 2, while the issue is being resolved.

"Travellers should still arrive as per normal for scheduled services and speak to their airline for updates. We’re extremely appreciative of the patience shown by passengers this morning & we would like to thank everyone for sticking with us during this period."

Update: The issues dogging the SmartGate system were resolved by Monday afternoon.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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