Artwork for securtity story
Artwork for securtity story

Major airport security outage put nation at risk

AUSTRALIA'S national security was put at risk during an Australian Border Force (ABF) security outage which brought international airports to a standstill across the country, newly-released documents reveal.

The massive outage in April resulted in a risk to the nation's border protection, migration systems and trade enforcement laws according to a "Major Incident Report" obtained under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws by News Corp.

The Home Affairs IT systems breakdown also interfered with a major law enforcement incident investigation which was underway at one of the country's international airports.

The outage caused major delays at Sydney airport in April. Picture: Supplied
The outage caused major delays at Sydney airport in April. Picture: Supplied

"Actions for this incident needed to be suspended as this outage limited the ongoing investigations," the documents revealed.

Tens of thousands of people across the country were caught up in the havoc caused by the outage at 5.58am on April 29.

Multiple systems, including the Smart Gate facial recognition cameras, were down for almost seven hours bringing immigration to a standstill and forcing all passengers to be processed manually.

 

 

The Department of Home Affairs classified the outage as a Priority 1 incident compromising its "Cargo, Traveller and other Border Systems".

Documents released under FOI about the system failure showed: "Processing of international cargo was halted due to redirecting ABF resources to process passengers manually for the duration of the outage".

Passport control machines failed at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane international airports causing massive queues.

Travellers caught up in the havoc at Sydney airport. Picture: Supplied
Travellers caught up in the havoc at Sydney airport. Picture: Supplied

Angry passengers at the time took to social media to vent their frustration over the systems failures which affected both inbound and outbound flights.

The queues were so long ABF officials had to roll out emergency water supplies to keep passengers hydrated.

"Sydney airport you should be ashamed," said one angry passenger on a social media account.

"7am, all the international flights are landing, the ePassport gates aren't working and 2000 people are jammed into your poxy arrivals hall."

 

Angry passengers too to social media to vent their frustration — including this one at Sydney airport. Picture: Supplied
Angry passengers too to social media to vent their frustration — including this one at Sydney airport. Picture: Supplied

 

The ABF has previously reportedly refused to explain what caused the failure at passport control gates that led to significant delays at airports.

The report said it was a "hardware failure" - specifically a Line Card on Network Distribution Switch.

A second incident on July 15 also caused massive delays as the Smart Gates for departures were affected for almost six-and-a-half hours.

 

Sydney airport staff handed out water to passengers caught up in the long queues. Picture: ABC News/Twitter
Sydney airport staff handed out water to passengers caught up in the long queues. Picture: ABC News/Twitter

All departure gates at international airports around the country were again affected impacting the ability of ABF officials to check visa applications and other passenger status details.

A "Major Incident Review" report released under FOI said the system failure "caused severe delays in passenger processing" and was due to a systems issue caused by an "authorised change" causing a communication device to fail.


EXCLUSIVE EVENT: Sunday Session served up in Paradise

premium_icon EXCLUSIVE EVENT: Sunday Session served up in Paradise

Capped at just 100 people, this is an event not to be missed

Millions of dollars of infrastructure upgrades complete

premium_icon Millions of dollars of infrastructure upgrades complete

30,000 tonnes of rock were moved for one of the projects.

Thousands flock to Cup where fashionistas strut their stuff

premium_icon Thousands flock to Cup where fashionistas strut their stuff

Lady of the Day winner no stranger to fashion success.