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IT systems failure blights UK Border Force electronic passport gates

The Home Office confirms the UK Border Force electronic passport gates are up and running again after passengers complain of missed flights due to earlier immigration processing delays

An IT system failure that blighted the functionality of the UK Border Force’s electronic passport gates at airports across the UK has now been resolved, the Home Office has confirmed.

The electronic passport gates are designed to allow fast-tracked access through the UK border to anyone in possession of a biometric passport, but an unspecified “technical issue” stopped passengers from using the service at UK ports earlier today for several hours.

According to government figures, there are 270 electronic passport gates in operation at air and rail ports across the UK, but it is not known at this time if all were affected by the technical difficulties.

Even so, the situation led to large queues of passengers at Heathrow Airport as border staff were required to manually process a higher than normal number of passports at these entry points as the situation occurred.

Heathrow Airport put out a statement on Twitter at around 1.40pm today saying it was “aware of a systems failure” affecting the UK Border Force’s electronic passport gates.

“The issue is impacting a number of ports of entry and is not an isolated issue at Heathrow,” the statement read. “Our teams are working with Border Force to find a solution as quickly as possible.”   

According to a statement released by the Home Office, the electronic passport gates were back up and running again around mid-afternoon today.

“This afternoon, a technical issue affected e-gates at a number of ports,” the statement read. “The issue was quickly identified and has now been resolved.”

It added: “We have been working hard to minimise disruption, and apologise to all passengers for the inconvenience caused.”

Even so, passengers caught up in the disruption have since detailed their frustrations on social media at getting caught up in lengthy queues, delays and missing connecting flights as a result of the issue.

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