Passengers arriving at Perth International Airport face long delays at Customs after electronic passport SmartGate machines were taken to the new arrivals area, which opens this month.
Immigration clearance is being moved from the ground to the first floor and the machines have to be integrated into an expanded SmartGate complex.
A Customs and Border Protection Service spokesman said the passport terminals were moved as late as possible and it was not practical to leave some behind because they worked as a set.
Passengers report waiting up to 70 minutes to clear Customs, with queues beyond the duty-free shops on the first level.
One passenger said the situation was incredible and worse than anything in the US.
Perth Airport chief executive Brad Geatches said the machines were the sole responsibility of Customs and the airport did not own or buy them.
Whether they should have been moved or new machines bought was up to Customs.
The delays in Customs are having a knock-on effect, with baggage carousels clogged as their owners stand in queues.
This in turn delays unloading more bags from containers.
Once the new international arrivals area opens on October 21, the airport will be able to expand the ground floor baggage collection area.
Passengers also have been delayed getting into the terminal, with some planes held on taxiways up to 30 minutes waiting for an aerobridge gate.
The airport was forced to close one of its five aerobridge gates - gate 51 - for the expansion work on the terminal.
However, the airport assures travellers its contractor is committed to having gate 51 ready in December for the Christmas peak.
"It will include two aerobridges and a fixed link to the terminal," Mr Geatches said.Gate 51 will be the first aerobridge complex capable of handling the A380 super jumbo.