A computer system failure that marred the functionality of UK Border Force electronic passport gates at UK airports has now been resolved, the Home Office has confirmed.
The gates of ePassports are designed to allow expedited access across the UK border to anyone in possession of a biometric passport, but an unspecified “technical issue” has prevented passengers from using the service in UK ports over early in the day for several hours.
According to government figures, 270 ePassport gates are in service at UK air and rail ports, but it is not known at this time if all have been affected by the technical difficulties.
Despite this, the situation led to large passenger queues at Heathrow Airport as border staff had to manually process a higher than normal number of passports at these entry points as they went through. as the situation arose.
Heathrow Airport posted a statement on Twitter at around 1:40 p.m. today, saying it was “aware of a system failure” affecting the doors of the UK Border Force’s ePassports.
“The problem impacts a number of ports of entry and is not an isolated problem at Heathrow,” the statement said. “Our teams are working with Border Force to find a solution as quickly as possible. ”
According to a statement released by the Interior Ministry, the ePassport doors were operational again by mid-afternoon today.
“This afternoon, a technical problem affected the electronic gates in a number of ports,” the statement said. “The problem was quickly identified and is now resolved. “
He added: “We have worked hard to minimize the disruption and apologize to all passengers for the inconvenience caused.”
Even so, passengers caught in the disturbance have since detailed their social media frustrations of being caught in long lines, delays and missing connecting flights due to the issue.