Passport e-gates at UK airports not working

  • By Dulcie Lee & Rachel Russell
  • BBC News

Passengers flying into the UK have shared their frustration over delays at passport controls as e-gates throughout the nation are not working.

The problem at airports, together with Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick, started on Friday evening.

The Home Office mentioned it was working with airways and port operators to minimise disruption from the “nationwide border system issue”.

A union warned queues would construct shortly.

All airports throughout the nation utilizing the gates are affected, which means individuals flying in are having to get their passports checked manually.

One passenger arriving at Gatwick mentioned the state of affairs was an “utter joke”.

Another, Craig Pullen, mentioned he needed to wait within the queue at Luton Airport for greater than two hours on Saturday, including it was “very poor” that travellers weren’t being given common updates on the problems with the e-gates or being instructed how lengthy it could take to clear passport management.

It is unclear what the difficulty is with the border system, with a Home Office spokesman saying it was “too sensitive to say”.

However whereas it’s technically affecting anyplace the place individuals are checked coming into the UK, the influence is especially being felt at bigger airports with e-gates.

This weekend was already anticipated to be busy for travellers, with the financial institution vacation coinciding with the half-term break for a lot of households.

Separately travellers leaving the UK from the Port of Dover additionally confronted points after the French passport system failed earlier on Saturday.

That problem has now been fastened, however vehicles and coaches are ready for about an hour, with about 400 lorries queuing to make the crossing on what’s a busy financial institution vacation weekend.

Airports across the UK issued statements warning passengers of delays however mentioned they have been working with the UK Border Force to minimise disruption.

A Gatwick Airport spokesperson mentioned on Saturday morning that queues have been “manageable” at that stage – though they have been anticipating 800 incoming flights through the day. It confirmed the difficulty first began between 19:00 and 20:00 BST on Friday.

The e-gate system hastens passport management by permitting some passengers to scan their very own passports. It makes use of facial recognition to confirm identification and captures the traveller’s picture.

Lucy Morton, from the Immigration Services Union, instructed the BBC that between 60-80% of incoming passengers often use e-gates, relying on the airport and with them being unavailable queues have been more likely to construct “very quickly”.

“There’s no impact on national security,” she mentioned, explaining that each one arrivals will nonetheless be absolutely checked by means of manned officer desks.

E-gates can be utilized by British residents aged over 12 and people from the EU, in addition to individuals from international locations together with Australia, Canada, the US, Japan and New Zealand.

But all entry factors retain manned safety desks for different passengers and people unable to make use of e-gates.

A Home Office spokesperson mentioned they have been conscious of a “nationwide border system issue affecting arrivals into the UK”.

“We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and are liaising with port operators and airlines to minimise disruption for travellers,” they mentioned.

Have your journey plans been affected by the delays? Share your experiences by emailing

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