Air passengers hit by delays in global computer malfunction

PASSENGERS at Australian airports faced long queues and flight delays yesterday due to a global outage of computerised check-in systems used by Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Disgruntled travellers took to Twitter to express their frustrations at the disruption that affected check-in terminals at major airports.

More than 400 Qantas flights around Australia were delayed by more than two hours as staff struggled with manual check-in and dispatch of flights when the system collapsed.

According to Qantas, three vital elements of the 'Amadeus' system were affected - check-in, reservations and plane loading calculations. Amadeus is one of five major reservations systems used by airlines to control and handle about 25 per cent of the world's 84,000 daily flights.

Within an hour, some aspects of the system came back online but Qantas was then plagued by intermittent failures.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the system experienced an outage just before 11am, but was back online from 11.48am. But there were still flight delays at Melbourne Airport in the afternoon ranged from 15 minutes for international departures to 30 minutes for domestic flights.

Qantas passengers at Perth Airport experienced delays of up to 90 minutes after the baggage belts broke down due to the heavy backlog of bags produced by the check-in system outage.

An Amadeus spokesman said the company was looking into the system crash and apologised for the inconvenience.

A Virgin Australia spokesman said the outage had only minimal impact on the airline as it is used only for reservations on its long-haul international flights.

Qantas flights are expected to be on time this morning.

with AAP