There have been chaotic scenes at Australia’s busiest international airports, after a computer systems crash meant passengers faced long waits.

Annie Peng reports.


Thousands of international flyers were stranded in long queues at three major airports Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

The SmartGate passport control system was down.

Australian Border Force workers had to check passport manually causing lengthy delays from 6am.

Vox 1: “40 minutes or 50 minutes, something like that, but don’t know what exactly.”

The delays caused frustration and anger.

Vox 2: “It’s pretty crazy, people are getting really angry about that, but we’re out now and we can go home to bed.”

The Australian Border Force called in computer experts to try and fix the problem and gradually brought SmartGate back online throughout the day.

Departing passengers were advised to get to the airport early as the initial problem and a knock on effect on departures.

Additional Australian Border Force staff were called in to process passengers and to minimise delays.

In Brisbane, people seem to be happy to wait patiently and show minimum concern about passport control issues.

The situation had eased by mid-morning.

Vox 3: “Well no, we just arrived and we give ourselves plenty of times, and hopefully we won’t be delay for a fly. This is the main thing.”

Authorities are hoping they have finally solved the technical issue.

Annie Peng, QUT News.