A "major" telco failure was behind the system outage that left some of Australia’s busiest airports resorting to manual processing of travellers.
As reported by ARN sister publication, Computerworld, trouble struck early on 22 May, when a number of Australian airports began experiencing delays due to an outage of the system that provides Advance Passenger Processing (APP).
Two of Australia’s largest and busiest airports, Sydney and Melbourne, took to social media to warn travellers of check-in delays due to the system issue.
The APP system, used globally, is designed to track the entry and exit of travellers and airline crew, and is aimed at making sure people without proper authority to travel to or from Australia do not board a flight or a cruise ship.
Department of Immigration and Border Protection moved to deploy Australian Border Force officers to assist affected airports and help minimise the impact on travellers.
By midday, the system issues had largely subsided, with Melbourne Airport advising passengers around late morning that the APP platform was back online.
Now, the Swiss company behind the APP system, Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques – known as SITA – has revealed that the platform was brought down due to an external telecommunications failure in the United Kingdom (UK).
“We experienced a network connectivity issue which resulted in systems provided for border control being disrupted,” a spokesperson for SITA told ARN. “This was caused by a major telecom failure in the UK of a top provider to our datacentre.
“In response, we implemented an alternative communications link and resumed services. Our team continues to monitor the situation.
“We can confirm this incident was not due to a cyber attack,” the spokesperson said.
The company has since expressed regret over any impact the incident has had on its customers and passengers.
“Our priority remains, as always, to ensure a stable system so that our customers can conduct their business efficiently and effectively,” the company said.
“We are currently conducting a full investigation to discover the root cause and though the service is currently restored, our team remains on high alert,” it said.