Ben Gurion airport computer crash hits hundreds of passengers

Over a thousand passengers left waiting for hours to enter country after border control system goes down

Passenger at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, May 8, 2014. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90)
Passenger at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, May 8, 2014. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90)

Chaos struck Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport on Friday when the border control computer system went down, leaving over a thousand passengers waiting hours to enter the country.

Interior Ministry officials were deployed to passport control to manually process the 1,300 waiting travellers who had arrived on eight different flights, Israel’s Ynet website reported.

The Airports Authority said passengers who were leaving the country would not be delayed, and that a bolstered team was manning passport control “to ease the pressure.”

The Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration said Friday afternoon that the system would soon return to full operation. The system was in the process of a reboot, the authority said, according to Channel 2, and was partially operational, but said there was still some congestion in passport control.

The system failure came a day after it was reported that the airport was set to see a record number of travellers in August.

Nearly 80,000 people flew in and out of the Tel Aviv-area airport on 457 flights on Thursday, the business journal Globes reported, making it the most-traveled day ever at the airport.

Some two million people are expected to fly in and out of Ben Gurion on international flights during the month of August, making it the most-traveled month ever.

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