Delays at international airports around Australia and New Zealand continue

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Passengers on a Perth-bound Virgin Australia flight board their aircraft at Sydney's Airport in Australia, August 5, 2016 after the company reported full year earnings results. Reuters/Jason Reed

Issues with an airport passport control system have caused delays at international airports around Australia and New Zealand. Melbourne Airport's head of communications Grant Smith said that outage hit the Advanced Passenger Processing system, which is used during check-in to see if passengers are allowed to travel to their destinations.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the department tasked to run the passport system, confirmed an “external system outage.” That means passports could not be processed electronically.

The automated system has now been restored in some airports including the ones in Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland. However, passengers are still experiencing delays, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Earlier, Sydney Airport's Twitter account confirmed a “system issue'” causing delays for airlines. It recommended that passengers must check with their airlines for the latest information.

'Crawling' forward

A Melbourne Airport passenger told Fairfax Media that the line has been "crawling" forward, forcing her to wait for at least 50 minutes before she was able to check in. Additional Border Force officers were assigned to airports to help manage delays.

In a statement, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said it was “aware of an external system outage with the Society International Telecommunications Aeronautiques (SITA) system.” It would affect passengers about to enter and depart Australia.

The department stressed APP reporting is required for all international flights to and from Australia. The reporting must be provided by airlines through the APP system.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website explains that the rule facilitates a more streamlined border clearance process for travellers. It also enhances the government’s capability to target security concerns.

A major system update was performed by the department over the weekend. Notice for the scheduled software update has been issued, notifying potential issues for those not using the latest version of web browsers. It is unclear if the Monday’s delayed flights can be linked to the software maintenance over the weekend.

Passengers from New Zealand faced the same problem as the country’s APP system has also gone down. Auckland Airport experienced delays on Monday morning.

Immigration New Zealand issued a statement to confirm that its APP system stopped working. “The system was out of action this morning for three hours as a result of a global issue,” the statement reads per Sky News.

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