29 Apr 2019

Australian airport chaos, thousands stuck in queues after IT problem

11:41 am on 29 April 2019

An IT problem is causing chaos at Australia's international airports, with significant delays in processing inbound and outbound passengers sparking long queues.

Melbourne Airport.

Photo: 123RF

Passengers have been posting photos of long queues from the international terminals in Sydney - where people were forced to wait for almost two hours - and Melbourne.

However, every international airport in the country has been affected.

In a statement, the Australian Border Force (ABF) said it was working with the Department of Home Affairs to resolve an "IT systems outage".

"Additional ABF staff have been deployed to process passengers and to minimise delays," the statement read.

"Passengers are encouraged to arrive at airports early to allow additional time for processing."

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) said the ABF outage was affecting all electronic passport gates.

Former ABC reporter Annabelle Regan, who was due to depart on a flight from Sydney Airport today, said she could not see the end of the queue she was in.

"It feels like we're going to be here for a while ... emergency supplies [like water] are coming out."

Celebrity chef Adam Liaw was caught up in the chaos and said there were "thousands of people" stuck in queues.

"Airport staff [are] doing a great job despite a lot of tired and grumpy passengers," he said.

ABC journalist Monte Bovill said the queue he was in at Melbourne Airport was more than 200m long.

"We just got off our plane from Vietnam, landed in Melbourne, and just as we got off the plane we joined the queue to get through immigration," he said.

"On the loudspeaker ... they explained that the processing system was down and they'd have to manually process people coming from international flights."

The outages at Brisbane started just after 6am, and a BAC spokesperson said additional staff had been brought in but warned "delays will be lengthy".