Singapore’s Changi is often hailed as the world’s best airport and is considered “a destination in itself,” but that reputation is at risk as the city-state’s border control authority warned of delays and long queues due to a technical issue with its immigration systems on Friday, March 31.
While lengthy lines and slow immigration clearances happen frequently across international airports, the Singapore aviation hub has long prided itself not just for its spectacular architecture and amenities but also for its punctuality and efficiency in handling a large volume of passengers.
Social media videos showed long lines formed at the departure gates inside the airport with passengers disgruntled at the rare systems error.
The city-state’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a statement update that “all departure automated lanes at all terminals at Changi Airport are affected, travelers are being redirected to the manual lanes for immigration clearance.”
The authority warned passengers to postpone non-essential travel and expect delays of the issue with its systems.
“We have recalled off-duty officers to provide additional support to manage the situation and to ensure law and order. Travelers who are currently at our checkpoints are advised to cooperate with officers on-site. Travelers are urged to factor in additional time for immigration clearance.”
“We regret the inconvenience caused and seek travelers patience and understanding while we continue to resolve the situation,” the statement read.
The ICA first reported the immigration clearance delays in a Facebook post around noon local time and the problems persisted for at least four hours.
Changi Airport was crowned as the world’s top airport for 12 years running by Skytrax, a UK-based airline and airport review and ranking site, based on the entire airport experience – from check-in to departures and everything in between.
It handled 68.3 million passengers in 2019, and after falling back on the league table during the coronavirus lockdown, over 8 million people passed through the airport in the first two months of this year.