24 August 2019
Flight delays, long queues and frustrated travellers are scenes that continue to dominate the KL International Airport (KLIA), as staff members scramble to repair interruptions to its airport management system and assist passengers.
The technical glitch to the Total Airport Management System (TAMS), which started on Wednesday night, was the first to hit KLIA since its inception in June 1998.
It has affected key functions such as the WiFi connection, flight information display systems (FIDS), check-in counters and the baggage handling system.
It is learnt that the old system could be a factor to the glitch.
The FIDS, which only functioned intermittently yesterday, forced staff members to improvise by displaying flight information on a white board.
Pictures of luggage stacked up at the baggage handling centre inside KLIA were also circulating on social media.
The airport was more congested with passengers yesterday compared to the day before, as many passengers took the opportunity to travel over the weekend.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) previously told travellers to arrive four hours before their departure time and to monitor its social media accounts for the latest updates.
Meanwhile, incensed passengers took to social media to vent their frustrations, while others praised MAHB’s staff for working round the clock to address the issue.
“KLIA’s case is more than just an IT glitch. It’s a case of ignorance for proper disaster recovery and contingency planning,” tweeted @nataliessaa yesterday.
Azlinariah, a traveller who was affected by the technical glitch, lamented that her flight was delayed from 9.40am to 4.40pm, then to 6.40pm.
“Just imagine, waking up early in the morning just to experience this,” she tweeted.
Fiza Eva, however, complimented MAHB for its efficiency in dealing with the matter.
“Major system down here at KLIA. But what impressed me most is how all the staff gathered together to assist the passengers. Well done guys! May the issue be resolved soon.”
At the same time, MAHB staff also distributed food and water to stranded travellers, which was praised by many.
“Back to basics with handwritten boarding pass and luggage tag. Stay strong all KLIA staff, hang in there! Thank you for assisting us and distributing drinking water and buns,” tweeted Nurul Aisyah Ibrahim.
To deal with the system outage, MAHB deployed about 1,000 employees – including customer service ambassadors since Thursday to assist travellers.
However, it isn’t enough, as MAHB even appealed to its own staff members to volunteer their free time to assist travellers, according to a tweet yesterday.
“Volunteers are needed urgently to assist the situation at KLIA and KLIA2 now, especially during peak hours (noon-2pm & 4-10pm). Kindly proceed to information counter at Level 5, KLIA for registration. Meals and drinks will be provided.
“This is the time to live up to our promise as a Caring Host. Our airport, our pride,” said MAHB.
The call for extra manpower even received positive feedback from the public, where some had offered to volunteer their free time to assist MAHB.
“We are very appreciative of this gesture and thank the public for their concern and effort. However, we would like to give our reassurance that our internal mobilisation of about 1,000 additional staff on the ground is sufficient.”
In a statement issued earlier yesterday, MAHB said that all 38 remote bays at KLIA Main Terminal were utilised to cater to aircraft that are not able to proceed to the scheduled gates as they are still being preoccupied.
MAHB also provided four additional buses, as well as ground handling services for airlines in order to facilitate passenger movements to the remote bays from the terminal.
“This is to ease the flow of passengers at the gates affected by the delayed flights. We had also extended the operating hours at all our other airports nationwide last night (Thursday) in order to cater to the delayed departing flights from Kuala Lumpur.”
Prospective travellers are hoping that the technical glitch will be resolved by today.
Despite the ongoing systems disruption at KLIA, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook successfully boarded his flight to Penang yesterday to attend an official event.
Bernama, quoting the minister’s press secretary Lim Swee Kuan, reported that although there was a slight delay in his flight, Loke understood the challenge faced by MAHB.
MAHB officers briefed Loke on the situation at the airport with ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohd Khairul Adib Abd Rahman.