A United States Customs and Border Protection computer outage is affecting a number of computers at airports around the country, according to reports. The outage affected Miami and Atlanta airports in particular, but passengers at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta are no longer being delayed. Issues were also reported at other airports in the country.
“We have heard that there is a nationwide system shutdown that is affecting all international arriving passengers,” said Reese McCranie, a spokeswoman for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in a report from CNN. Miami Airport officials also tweeted that the report is nationwide and that they’re working to restore the system.
According to the CNN report, the issue lasted around an hour — which is enough to put a serious halt to travel plans, especially at larger airports like the ones affected.
— Peter Gartrell (@runptg11) January 2, 2017
Robert Brisley, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport said that the issue lasted into the early evening, and that the agency apologizes to travelers who experienced delays during their travels.
It’s currently unclear exactly what’s causing the issue, but the issue does raise a few questions — namely about how easy it might be for someone with malicious intent to completely disrupt travel in the U.S. If one computer outage can cause this much chaos, outages on a larger scale could delay thousands of flights and potentially millions of passengers.
Increasingly, airports are relying on computers for every step of traveling — from checking in to the flying itself. While the vast majority of the time this not only saves time but also helps improve safety, issues like this may be inevitable.