Jonathan Fernandez’s handwritten boarding pass. ― Malay Mail pic 

Passengers returning from Miri on board budget carrier Malindo Air were left anxious for some time when the check-in computer system crashed yesterday.

Their anxiety was only temporary as the ground staff issued handwritten boarding passes to 41 passengers to enable them to catch their flight.

But this has landed their airline in hot soup, as they could face action with aviation and transport regulators, following Rayani Air coming under scrutiny in March.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi said the ministry viewed the system failure seriously and had instructed Malindo Air to conduct an immediate probe into the matter, not discounting the possibility of internal sabotage or hacking.

“It is puzzling to the ministry when informed the system engineers discovered the back-up system had failed to operate when needed.”

Aziz said no action would be taken on the airline for the technical glitch, but it would have to provide a report to the ministry to explain the matter, including the poor back-up system.

He confirmed the glitch in the airline’s internal system was only experienced at Miri Airport.

“Sixty passengers had no check-in problems but the remaining 41 were affected when the system malfunctioned. The immediate action taken was to issue handwritten boarding passes.”

Aziz said the airline had received clearance from the Immigration Department and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad on the matter.

Malindo Air chief executive officer Chandran Rama Muthy said Flight OD1651, from Miri Airport to KL International Airport, was delayed for 10 minutes.

“The (Internet) connection provided by our third-party vendor was down halfway through check-in,” he said.

Chandran said the airline had standard operating procedures to overcome such situations.

“All procedures according to Malaysia Airports and Miri Immigration Department were followed accordingly.

“Our security screenings were tightened and we verified each passenger’s identification card against our passenger manifest,” he said.

The Internet connection at Miri Airport was up and running as of 6pm yesterday.

The check-in issue came to light when an affected passenger, Jonathan Fernandez, 30, uploaded a picture of his boarding pass on Facebook.

“My only concern was not being able to board the flight,” he said.

In March, Rayani Air came under scrutiny after a photo uploaded by Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San of his allegedly handwritten boarding pass while he was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching, Sarawak, went viral.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had said the airline would be investigated as he deemed the act to be a potential security threat.

“It can be a security threat because you can’t read the handwriting,” Liow was quoted saying.

Malay Mail Online

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