Electronic Systems Crash Paralyses Airport operations
CHENNAI: A sudden failure of all electronic systems at the international terminal of the Chennai airport, paralysed operations during peak hour. According to well-placed sources, Customs and Immigration departments were the worst hit by the failure, as individual airlines managed to get their back-up servers online and continued functioning.
“The systems blacked out around 6.30 am, when the last batch of international passengers were checking in. The delay in getting the problem rectified caused six planes to leave at least 15 to 20 minutes late,” said an official on duty during the mini-crisis.
Already, Immigration and Customs are two agencies which are perennially short-staffed, which leads to inordinate delays in clearing passengers, translating to long lines leading to their counters. When the system had been showing signs of sluggishness, leading up to the crash, passengers complained that they stood in line for over 30 minutes before the flow began to return to normal. To add to the chaos, two major international flights - to London and Bahrain - were already running late, leading to a shortage of sitting space in the security hold area.
Sources in the airport said that it was around 7.30 am when the issue was finally rectified, and a troubleshooting report has been called for.
When contacted, an Airports Authority of India (AAI) spokesperson said, “There was a minor electrical fault in those particular systems and that is why it crashed. The system must have been down for 7-10 minutes but it took a long time for it to reboot, that is what caused this issue.”
Luckily, no one was in danger of missing their flight as the norm for international check-in is arriving at least two hours in advance. There have been blackouts and power failures twice in 2013 and a similar systems failure occurred last November.