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Passengers landing at OR Tambo International Airport had to deal with delayed flights due to the airport’s luggage sortation system experiencing a breakdown.
As a result, there was a considerable delay in baggage handling and delivery.
In their most recent statement, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) announced OR Tambo International was still experiencing intermittent technical challenges with the baggage sortation system delaying departure flights.
The issue started on Friday as Acsa issued a statement notifying passengers they were dealing with the issue in the domestic terminals.
Passengers were urged to arrive early to allow sufficient time for check-in.
UPDATE: Please note that @ortambo_int is still experiencing intermittent technical challenges with the baggage sortation system which is resulting in the delay of departure flights. pic.twitter.com/6EP8zMAMk9
— Airports Company SA (@Airports_ZA) December 23, 2023
FlySafair CMO Kirby Gordon noted that about 3,000 bags were awaiting reunification with their owners as of Saturday morning, with an estimated total of twice that number of passengers affected across other airlines.
The operational crisis has not only caused inconvenience to travellers but also brought significant financial implications.
Ground handling companies have had to employ extra staff and allocate overtime to minimise the disruption’s impact, according to Gordon.
Airlines are also facing hefty courier bills for shipping luggage to reunite them with passengers.
Additionally, the incident prompted MSC Cruises to delay the departure of a ship from Durban harbour to resolve the luggage issue.
Affected parties have raised questions regarding compensation, especially considering the scale of the inconvenience and financial losses.
Gordon added that discussions are underway with Acsa to address these concerns and find an equitable solution for all involved.