Passport e-gates at UK airports are not operational.
Passengers flying into the UK are experiencing delays at passport controls due to a nationwide outage of e-gates.
The problem began on Friday night at airports such as Heathrow, Manchester, and Gatwick.
The Home Office stated that it was collaborating with airlines and port operators to reduce inconvenience caused by the “national border system issue.”
A union warned that lines would form rapidly.
All airports in the country that use the gates are affected, which means that passengers flying in must have their passports manually examined.
The problem with the border system is unknown, with a Home Office spokeswoman saying it is “too sensitive to say.”
While it theoretically affects wherever where passengers are checked entering the UK, the impact is more noticeable at larger airports with e-gates.
This weekend was always predicted to be busy for travelers, as the bank holiday coincided with many families’ half-term break.
Separately, passengers departing the United Kingdom from the Port of Dover encountered difficulties as the French passport system failed early on Saturday.
The IT problem has been resolved, but automobiles and coaches have been waiting for approximately an hour, with 400 lorries waiting to cross on what is a busy bank holiday weekend.
Airports around the UK released comments warning passengers of delays, but also stated that they were collaborating with the UK Border Force to minimize disruption.
A spokeswoman at Gatwick Airport said waits were “manageable” so far, despite the fact that 800 incoming aircraft were expected on Saturday. It acknowledged that the problem began between 19:00 and 20:00 BST on Friday.
By allowing some travellers to scan their own passports, the e-gate technology expedites passport control. It employs face recognition to authenticate identity and takes a picture of the traveller.
One tourist landing at Gatwick described the scenario as a “absolute farce.”
According to Lucy Morton of the Immigration Services Union, 60-80% of entering passengers use e-gates depending on the airport, and with them unavailable, lineups are likely to form “very quickly.”
“There will be no impact on national security,” she added, adding that all arrivals will still be thoroughly screened at manned officer counters.
E-gates can be used by British nationals over the age of 12, EU citizens, and residents of countries like as Australia, Canada, the United States, Japan, and New Zealand.
However, manned security desks remain at all entrance points for other passengers and those who are unable to utilize e-gates.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office stated that they were aware of a “national border system issue affecting arrivals into the UK.”
“We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and are coordinating with port operators and airlines to minimize travel disruption,” they stated.
British Airways was also affected by IT troubles on Thursday and Friday, affecting almost 20,000 passengers at Heathrow.