'It was chaotic': National outage of passport kiosks causes major delays at Pearson

Getting through international customs at Toronto's Pearson airport Sunday might have taken you a little longer than usual. 

Issues resolved around 9 p.m., but customers expressed frustration over lack of communication

Passengers took to Twitter Sunday to express concerns over delays, backlog, and lack of communication from Pearson airport staff after technical issues shut down passport kiosks nationwide. (Kowlasar Misir/submitted )

Getting through international customs at Toronto's Pearson airport Sunday might have taken you a little longer than usual. 

A nationwide outage affecting the primary inspection kiosks and NEXUS of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) caused serious delays for passengers arriving on international flights. 

Those issues have since been resolved.

"Throughout the outage, CBSA management and airport or bridge authorities worked collaboratively to facilitate arriving passenger flows and border clearances until the outage was resolved," CBSA media relations manager Ashley Lemire told CBC Toronto in a statement. 

The outage affected kiosks in terminals one and three, forcing customers to use hand-written forms to get through customs, according to GTAA spokesperson Robin Smith. 

Many airline passengers traveling through Toronto's Pearson airport Sunday took to Twitter to express frustration over the delays. 

In their tweets, customers complained of long and hot wait times, and a lack of communication from airport staff. 

'It was a nightmare' 

Passenger Kowlasar Misir, who arrived to Toronto early Sunday evening from Minneapolis, said he waited in lines for three hours before he was able to get through customs.

"There was not a single announcement. No one came around to tell you anything. There was no one on the ground to manage and coordinate," he said. "It was chaotic." 

Passengers arriving from international flights Sunday say they waited in hours-long lines to get through customs. (Kowlasar Misir/submitted)

Misir said the people around him were patient, but clearly getting frustrated. 

"At a minimum, they should be handing out some bottles of water because it's children, babies, old people ... you were there for a long time," he said. 

'It was a nightmare." 

Misir said he now wants to know what emergency measures are in place should a situation like this happen again. 

Delays in Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal 

A number of airports across Canada took to Twitter to warn travellers about similar issues earlier Sunday, including Ottawa, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver. 

Tweets from the airports thanked passengers for their patience. 

With files from The Canadian Press


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