Ben Gurion Flight Delays Due to Computer Snafu

A passenger waiting by his luggage in the departure hall at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport. (Flash90)

Dozens of flights were delayed and hundreds of pieces of luggage remained behind as planes took off late due to a computer snafu at Ben Gurion Airport. At issue is the computer system that controls the Hold Baggage Screening — the automatic security check system for inspection of passenger luggage at Ben Gurion Airport. As a result of the snafu, the systems that luggage must pass through for security purposes are unable to keep up with the amount of luggage being sent on the check-in conveyor belts, resulting in delays to flights.

Under safety protocols, all checked-in bags must go through the HBS system before they are loaded onto planes. The computers controlling the process displayed outages overnight Wednesday, resulting in spotty operations, with the entire system shut down at several points. Tech teams are trying to find the cause of the issue and repair it. Teams of baggage inspectors were brought in to try and move bags along through the security process, but even with the extra help, the security system is still running slow. As a result, some 400 bags have been left behind as the flights they are supposed to be on took off. The bags will be sent to their owners on flights to the appropriate destinations later Thursday, officials said.

The delays are taking place within the “inner bowels” of the airport — behind the check-in lines — and check-ins for all flights have been proceeding normally. Most of the overnight and early morning flights depart for European cities, and flights to destinations such as Rome, Geneva, London, Budapest and many other cities were delayed by an hour or more. Ben Gurion Airport officials recommend that passengers double-check their flight schedule in advance of departing for the airport.


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