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Global watchlist failure causes mega delays at Auckland Airport

A failure of boarding systems at Auckland Airport was caused by a global IT failure, Dileepa Fonseka reports

Queues at airports across the globe, including Auckland, were caused by the failure of an IT system used by countries to check passengers against terrorist watch-lists. 

Passengers at airports in Australia and New Zealand were reported by Newshub as being unable to board or experiencing long check-in delays.  

Nicola Hogg, general manager for Border and Visa operations at Immigration New Zealand said the delays were caused by a failure of an IT system run by France-based SITA. 

"INZ has been advised by SITA that this is a global outage, affecting a number of countries."

The system checks passenger names against watch-lists drawn up by intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities like Interpol. 

New Zealand Immigration uses the service as part of its Advance Passenger Processing system (APP) which checks passenger data at check-in counters to see if they are allowed to fly. 

Without the system in place airlines around the world are unable to issue boarding passes via their electronic systems at check-in. 

Auckland Airport said in a tweet that passengers could still be checked in manually but that process would cause "delays". 

In a statement, SITA's media relations manager Brenda Flinter said a technical issue had led to its interactive passenger processing systems being disrupted in a number of countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

Flinter said the company was treating the problem with "the utmost urgency", and had now been able to fully restore all services and have operations running as normal.

"We regret any impact this incident has had on our customers and passengers. Our priority remains, as always, to ensure a stable system so that our customers can conduct their business efficiently and effectively."

SITA was carrying out a full investigation to discover the root cause of the outage, she said.

Two years ago, another outage of the system caused passenger delays across airports in Australia and New Zealand.

News website The Blue Swan reported delays at Wellington and Auckland airports at the time

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