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Systems disruptions at KLIA; Everything we know so far

Systems disruptions at KLIA; Everything we know so far

Tasneem Nazari

A systems disruption affected both Kuala Lumpur International Airports (KLIA and KLIA2) for four days starting from Wednesday night (Aug 21).

The glitch affected key functions in the airport including WiFi connection, flight information display system, check-in counters and the baggage handling system.

The fiasco resulted in a reported 68 flight delays during the first 24 hours of the disruption. 

It was later found that the systems disruptions were caused by network failure.

Aug 23: Network equipment was replaced.

Upon identifying network failure as the cause of the disruption, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd rectified the situation by replacing the network equipment.

The replaced equipment resulted in positive progress and network stability.

Aug 24: Situation at airports improved.

Picture credit: Twitter

One day after the network equipment was replaced, the situation at the KLIA airports improved. 

As most systems were back up and running as normal, the airport was a lot less crowded with manageable queues at the check-in counters. 

Malaysia Airports CARE Ambassadors were still visible throughout the airport working hard to ensure the comfort of passengers including distributing coffee and tea to them. 

Aug 25: Operations returned to normal

Picture credit: New Straits Times

By day four, operations returned to normal at the airports. Even the Flight information display systems (FIDS) had recovered.

Passengers were seen going about their usual business. Check-ins and movement of queues were smooth.

The number of Airport CARE Ambassadors had also been reduced.

Aug 26: Malicious intent not ruled out.

Malaysia Airports releases a statement saying they had not ruled out the possibility that the network failure was caused by an act of malicious intent

“We will put this in the hands of the authorities to do a full investigation on the matter.”

Malaysia Airports via Malaysiakini

Malaysia Aiports shares on Bursa Malaysia closed seven sen lower at RM8.56 with 1.83 million shares changing hands.

Picture credit: Twitter

Aug 27: A committee is set up to investigate the incident.

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) set up a committee to investigate the actual cause of KLIA’s Total Airport Management System (TAMS) failure and suggest improvement measures to prevent a repeat.

‘’The committee is given one month to prepare a detailed report to the cabinet.’’

Transport Minister Anthony Loke via Malaysiakini

Picture credit: Malaysiakini

The six-person team, chaired by the ministry’s secretary-general Mohd Khairul Adib Abdul Rahman is made up of the following:

  1. Aviation Commission (Mavcom) executive chairman Nungsari Ahmad Radhi
  2. Mavcom member Long See Wool
  3. Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) member Afzal Abdul Rahim
  4. CAAM chief executive officer Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar
  5. National Cyber Safety Agency chief executive Md Shah Nuri Md Zain.
Picture credit: Malaysiakini

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said they did not receive any reports linking the network failure to corruption.

Aug 28: Malaysia Airports lodges police report.

KLIA District Police chief ACP Zulkifli Adamshah confirmed receiving a police report by Malaysia Airports over the network failure, though no evidence was submitted with the report.

The report was lodged by Malaysia Airports Information Technology Division’s senior manager. 

Picture credit: The Star Online

ACP Zulkifli stated that the investigation will be carried out under Section 427 of the Penal Code for mischief which states:

“Whoever commits mischief and thereby causes loss or damage to the amount of twenty-five ringgit or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than one year and not more than five years or with fine or with both.”

Aug 29: Individuals named in police report were questioned by police.

At least four people were reportedly questioned by police after their names were listed in Malaysia Airports’ police report.

The four were said to be “familiar with the function of network code switches” and the Total Airport Management System (TAMS) used at both international terminals.

Sep 2: Twelve members of Malaysia Airport staff had statements recorded by police.

Picture credit: Berita Harian

ACP Zulkifli confirmed that a total of twelve Malaysia Airports staff members had their statements recorded and the police intend to summon more people to assist in their investigation.

“The investigation is still underway. We will call a few individuals to assist the probe,

“The process is going to take time in terms of technical and other aspects.”

KLIA District police chief ACP Zulkifli Adamshah via Sinar Harian.

He also confirmed that the report of the investigations will be forwarded to the Selangor police chief for further action.

Sept 4: Four Malaysia Airports staff lodge counter report.

Picture credit: Malaysiakini

Four suspended Malaysia Airports staff lodged police reports to counter the initial report made by the company’s senior IT department manager which implicated them with being involved in the network equipment failure.

The four individuals are reportedly pioneer IT officers with Malaysia Airports since the last 20 years and were among the twelve Malaysia Airports staff who had their statements recorded by police.

Investigations are still ongoing to get to the bottom of the incident. In the meantime, operations are back to normal at KLIA and KLIA2

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