Delays at Changi Airport, land checkpoints caused by 'technical glitch' during system upgrade: ICA
SINGAPORE: A glitch in the automated immigration clearance system sparked hours-long delays and snaking queues at Singapore's checkpoints, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Friday (Mar 31).
"Preliminary investigations found that there was a technical glitch during a pre-scheduled system upgrade, and this caused an unanticipated system overload," said a spokesperson.
ICA said that automated immigration clearance at checkpoints "became unavailable" at about 10.40am.
Automated clearance lanes at all the departure terminals at Changi Airport were affected, along with arrival terminals at Terminals 2 and 4.
At the Woodlands and Tuas land checkpoints, all automated motorcycle lanes - as well as some automated lanes for departing and arriving bus passengers - were affected, said ICA.
The agency said that as part of its "business continuity plan", it redirected travellers to manual counters for immigration clearance.
"Off-duty officers were immediately recalled, and these additional resources were deployed to man all the immigration counters and perform crowd control," ICA's spokesperson added.
ICA also used radio broadcasts and social media to advise travellers to factor in additional time for immigration clearance.
At midday, it had posted on Facebook advising travellers to "postpone all non-essential travel, where applicable".
In its statement on Friday night, ICA noted that automated immigration clearance progressively resumed over time, and "full normalcy" was restored at about 4pm.
"ICA apologises for the inconvenience caused, and would like to thank travellers for their understanding, patience, and cooperation with our officers on the ground," said the spokesperson.
"We are conducting a thorough investigation and will be putting in place additional safeguards to prevent reoccurrence."
Changi Airport said in a 5pm Facebook update that a "small" number of passengers missed their flights due to the delays, despite priority being given to those with imminent departures.