Nationwide Outage at UK Border Gates Causes Massive Delays at Airports

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 9, 2024 12:30 PMNews
White and red plane tails
White and red plane tails. Source: unsplash

A significant technical malfunction in the UK border's e-gates system has led to extensive delays at major airports across the country, affecting thousands of international travelers. The disruption, which impacted automated gates used to process incoming passengers, has resulted in prolonged wait times and considerable inconvenience.

Extensive Delays Unfold at Major UK Airports: International flights into and out of the United Kingdom are facing severe delays as the Border Force grapples with a widespread outage of its e-gates. This system failure has forced airport staff to revert to manual processing of passengers, a slower method that has caused long lines and extended waiting times. Reports from Manchester Airport indicated passengers waiting up to 90 minutes post-landing. A passenger, Steven Brownrigg, shared his experience, noting that priority was given to families with small children and vulnerable passengers, with staff distributing bottled water to those waiting.

Airports Nationwide Are Affected: The outage has not been isolated to one location but has spread across several major airports including London Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen. The airports have communicated actively about the situation, offering assistance and coordinating with officials to manage the crisis. Heathrow Airport, in particular, has been actively involved in supporting the emergency response plans.

Flight Disruptions Recorded: According to Flightaware, the impact on departures and arrivals has been significant. London Heathrow reported that 20% of its departing flights were delayed, while Edinburgh saw delays in 14% of its daily operations. Manchester Airport experienced delays in 12% of departing flights and 15% of incoming flights.

Passenger Discontent and Welfare Concerns: The situation at Stansted has been particularly challenging, with passengers reported to be tired and upset. Some have been confined to their aircraft upon arrival, with pilots unable to provide a timeframe for disembarking due to the backlog at passport control. Social media platforms, including X (formerly Twitter), have been flooded with images and videos from frustrated passengers stuck in queues, with concerns escalating over the well-being of those affected, especially as wait times approached three hours.

The Home Office has acknowledged the technical issues affecting the e-gates and is likely working on resolving the outage, though no detailed information or timeframe for a resolution has been provided at this stage.

As the situation unfolds, passengers are advised to check with their airlines and the airports for the latest updates and possibly prepare for delays. This incident highlights the challenges and dependencies on technology in managing border security and processing at such a large scale.

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