Reliability of eGates called into question after another bank holiday failure

Pasport eGates are designed to speed up border control
Pasport eGates are designed to speed up border control

Airports across the UK are returning to normal today after the overnight failure of all Passport eGates across the country caused chaos for arriving passengers.

During the chaos many passengers were stranded on planes on the tarmac waiting to disembark for hours at some of the busier airports.

The UK has 270 eGates around the country in airports and international railway stations which are designed to reduce the workload on border force staff and make it quicker for passengers to re-enter or enter the UK by using facial recognition and biometrics to automatically confirm identity and validity of passports.

But yesterdays outage, combined with one during the May bank holiday weekend last year has led some to question whether the system can cope with large volumes of traffic.

The Home Office, which is responsible for the eGates confirmed they were all now back online and said the outage was down to a “system network issue” which meant staff had to manually process all passports, but due to eGates installation, staffing levels had been reduced leading to the delays.

In some cases, the outage also affected the manned systems for passport checking with some airports including Belfast, which doesn’t have any eGates, also being affected.

An investigation will now take place to find out what caused the outage but the Home Office has ruled out a cyber attack.

The Home Office also apologised to passengers caught up in the outage and for any delays.

About Nick Harding 1959 Articles
Nick is the senior reporter and editor at UK Aviation News as well as working freelance elsewhere. He has his finger firmly on the pulse on Aviation, not only in the UK but worldwide. Nick has been asked to speak in a professional capacity on LBC, Heart and other broadcast networks.

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