Passengers arriving at major airports in the London area are experiencing delays at the onset of the bank holiday weekend due to issues with electronic passport gates.
On Friday night, problems with the gates arose at airports including Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick, and Luton, resulting in reported delays of up to three hours.
Photographs shared by travellers on social media revealed congested queues at passport control, with little progress being made, according to some accounts.
Heathrow airport’s spokesperson addressed the situation on Twitter, stating, “We are aware of a nationwide issue affecting the eGates, which are operated by Border Force. This problem is impacting multiple entry points and is not specific to Heathrow.”
The spokesperson further added, “Our teams are collaborating closely with Border Force to expedite the resolution of the problem. We have additional staff members available to manage queues and assist passengers. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during their journeys.”
Meanwhile, separate IT difficulties affected approximately 20,000 British Airways passengers on Friday, leading to the cancellation of over 175 flights. The disruption persisted into Saturday morning.
The disruption also extended to ferry travel between Dover and Calais, as a technical glitch in the French passport control’s IT systems caused delays in arrivals to France.
Passengers were advised to allocate two hours for border controls and to check in at the UK’s primary passenger port.
In response to the situation, a spokesperson from the Home Office stated, “We are aware of a nationwide issue with the border system affecting arrivals into the UK. We are actively working to resolve the problem promptly and are in communication with port operators and airlines to mitigate disruption for travellers.”
The spokesperson reassured that Border Force had devised plans to deploy additional officers to minimise delays and disturbances.