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Airport delays: The latest from Heathrow and Gatwick as e-passport gates fail on Saturday, a bank holiday

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Travelers are facing long delays as electronic passport gates have broken down at all UK airports.

The issue is likely to cause long delays at passport control for bank holiday passengers flying into the country as all airports that use the gate are affected.

The Home Office confirmed the news after the system went down on Friday night – but did not say how long the failure would last.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are aware of the issue with the nationwide border system affecting arrivals in the UK.

“We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and are liaising with port operators and airlines to minimize disruption to passengers.”

It came as thousands faced disruption to their bank holiday plans after British Airways was forced to cancel hundreds of flights on Thursday and Friday after an IT failure.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 10:01

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Saturday’s travel chaos comes after British Airways canceled dozens of flights following an IT failure on Thursday, which was thought to be the busiest day for aviation since 2019.

Independent It was calculated that at least 156 flights, mainly domestic and European, were canceled on Thursday and Friday as BA struggled to operate without essential systems.

In addition, 14 flights were delayed by 12-16 hours.

With many flights fully booked at the start of the bank holiday weekend, the number of affected passengers is expected to exceed 25,000 – with many more experiencing severely delayed and/or missed connections.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 11:27

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Heathrow Airport has said it has “additional paramedics to manage queues and provide passenger welfare”.

Writing on social media, it tweeted: “We are aware of a nationwide issue affecting eGates, which are operated by Border Force. The issue is affecting multiple ports of entry and is not Heathrow specific.

“Our teams are working closely with Border Force to help resolve the issue as quickly as possible and we have additional partners on hand to manage queues and provide passenger welfare. We apologize for.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 11:16

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Edinburgh Airport is “working with colleagues from the UK Border Force to work to rectify this issue.”

The airport tweeted: “Incoming passengers should be aware of the ongoing issue with e-gates at UK airports.

“In Edinburgh we are working with colleagues from UK Border Force to work to rectify this issue.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 10:56

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The UK government said it was working to fix a technical problem that caused electronic border gates at airports across the country to stop working late on Friday, leaving travelers stranded at the start of a busy holiday weekend. Have to wait for hours to enter.

The Home Office, which is responsible for border control, said it was working to fix the problem.

The Home Office said “we are aware of the issue of a nationwide border system affecting arrivals to the UK”. “We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and are liaising with port operators and airlines to minimize disruption to passengers.”

Travelers posted photos of long lines at airports across the country as all arriving travelers were forced to use manned passport desks instead of automated gates equipped with electronic passport scanners.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 10:45

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A traveler has described the scenes at Edinburgh airport as “shabby”, reporting a queue of more than 300 people at passport control on Friday night.

Another spoke of “total chaos” at passport control at Gatwick Airport, with “queues of over an hour” caused by electronic passport gates being down.

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 10:28

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Travel correspondent Simon Calder at The Independent warned that the failure could lead to widespread disruption beyond inconvenience for arriving commuters.

“The whole UK Border Force business model – including staffing at the end of this week – is based on the premise that a large number of incoming travelers are able to use eGates. As well as British citizens, EU citizens, Americans, Australians, Japanese and other nationalities can go through them.

“The simple business of checking that a passport is valid, and that it belongs to the traveler presenting themselves, is a transaction normally achieved easily and efficiently by eGate technology. By removing this routine burden UK Border Force officers may spend time on ‘cases of cases’ arriving from abroad.

“But if every arrival has to be checked manually, then the processing time goes up massively – which is why we are seeing very long queues.

“Once the arrival flow in the arrivals hall becomes unmanageable, passengers may need to remain on board the aircraft – meaning delays may make up for the departure of passengers who are unable to board their aircraft.

“The problem will also affect British border posts in France – Calais, Dunkirk and the Eurostar terminal at Paris Gare du Nord.”

Tara Cobham27 May 2023 10:21

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We’re pausing our live coverage of the Bank Holiday Getaway but keep checking independent.co.uk for the latest updates.

Sam Rakena27 May 2023 00:30

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In pictures: Chaos at Heathrow as BA cancels nearly 200 flights

People queue to check in at Heathrow Airport on May 26, 2023 in London, England

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Martha Macready27 May 2023 00:00

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British Airways has canceled dozens more flights after an IT failure on Thursday, which was thought to be the busiest day for aviation since 2019.

The Independent SeaAt least 156 flights, mainly domestic and European, are estimated to have been canceled on Thursday and Friday as BA struggles to operate without essential systems.

Besides this, 14 flights were delayed overnight and are expected to arrive late morning after a delay of 12-16 hours.

Martha Macready26 May 2023 23:00