By Lia Timson
Global reservations system issues statement.
The global reservations system Amadeus has confirmed it was responsible for the systems outage that forced Qantas to issue handwritten boarding passes at airports across the world this morning after the company’s check-in system malfunctioned.
A spokesperson for Amadeus issued a statement this afternoon to accept Qantas’ explanation of the problem.
“Amadeus can confirm that the issues related to printing of boarding passes from our departure control system experienced this morning have now been fully resolved.
“We are currently investigating the cause of the issue that occurred today and regret any inconvenience caused to our customers. We remain committed to providing the industry’s leading information technology services that support many airlines around the world”.
A Qantas spokeswoman said the meltdown occurred at 6.40am and had impacted on the airline’s ability to print boarding passes. It later said on Twitter it was an Amadeus problem.
In a reply post, @QantasAirways said “Hi, all ports serviced by the Amadeus system have experienced problems today, it has affected airlines globally.”
The Amadeus spokesperson would not confirm whether other airlines were involved in today’s incident or whether the outage was caused by a recurring fault, but said its European centre was investigating the issue and would issue a further technical statement in due course.
In October the company said it was committed to R&D, having invested €326 million (A$432 million) during 2010 to research and develop technologies for use in the travel sector. The commitment saw it ranked number one by the European Commission in R&D investment in travel and tourism.
Earlier today, a Qantas spokeswoman said all airports servicing Qantas flights were affected.
“We have had issues printing boarding passes at our domestic airports. Customers can check in online or on their smartphones, but we expect the system to be up any moment,” she said at 7.45am.
The spokeswoman said people flying from Los Angeles and Auckland were checking in at the time the system went down.
“What happens in these cases is customers are given pre-printed cards, and staff fill their details in,” she said.
The printing of boarding passes resumed at Sydney Airport by around 9am.
A Tullamarine Airport spokeswoman confirmed storms compounded problems for travellers in Melbourne, with lightning closing the airport for brief periods just before 7am and again about 7.35am.
The editor of smh.com.au, Darren Goodsir, was due to fly from Sydney to Melbourne this morning. He said many passengers were being put on to later flights because of the system failure.
“What they are saying is there has been a complete meltdown and no one can check in,” he said.
“Everyone is being manually checked in and they are getting handwritten boarding passes.”
In Melbourne, two check-in staff were trying to issue handwritten boarding passes for hundreds of passengers, a traveller bound for Canberra told this website.
The passenger, who declined to be named, said staff were telling passengers there was a nationwide problem with the computerised check-in system.
An aviation security expert said a handwritten pass was still considered a legal document as long as the passenger’s name and flight details were written on a blank Qantas boarding pass.
The main difference was it would not have a barcode on it.
“The threat level remains the same,” the expert, who asked not to be named, said.
“But the problem in Australia is there is no requirement for photo [identification] at the gate … for domestic flights.
“Boarding passes are swapped regularly. It is something that is very well known.”