A passport systems shutdown has forced the closure of all international check-in and customs desks at Sydney Airport this morning, and the problem stretches to other international airports around Australia. The problem has been resolved, but there will be knock-on effects for at least the next few hours.
Update, 10:15AM: Melbourne Airport has said that systems are now back online and that passengers are being processed, but that delays could take a long time to filter through. If you're travelling internationally today, it's best to check with your airline for any updated departure times or guidance on when you should get to the airport.
Our original story is below:
Melbourne Airport has confirmed that the system is "still down, and we don't yet have an ETA for return to normal." Sydney Airport — Australia's busiest — has queues of hundreds of passengers waiting to move through customs and immigration to board their departing flights, which are themselves delayed due to the issue.
Reports suggest that the problem is with the Advance Passenger Processing system that the Australian Border Force runs for automated passport checking, including at Australian airports' SmartGates. All international Australian airports are apparently affected by the system failure, which is leading to long lines and extended delays.
News.com.au originally said that the issues are linked to the global system which is down, but has updated that story to limit it to only Australian international airport departures.
There are a total of 27 international-capable airports around Australia, but only seven — Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Bribane, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin — are classified as 'major'. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide are in order the five busiest airports in Australia by passenger movement, with nearly 120 million journeys made through them in the 2015-16 calendar year.
Airlines are experiencing check-in delays due to a system issue. Check with your airline for latest information. Thanks for your patience.
— Sydney Airport ✈️ (@SydneyAirport) May 21, 2017
@Melair Could you please confirm if the informatic passport's control issue has been solved? Thank you
— Alita de pollo (@Alitadepollonet) May 21, 2017
— Stefanie Menezes (@menezestweet) May 21, 2017
— Jonathan Harley ? (@jharleyaus) May 21, 2017
This story is developing, please check back for updates.