Government issues statement on UK-wide airport issue which caused huge queues

Birmingham Airport terminal building
Birmingham Airport terminal building -Credit:Birmingham Mail

A government statement has been issued across UK airports after a national outage caused chaos. The main airports across the country were affected by issues with eGates on Thursday, April 25 which caused massive queues at border control.

The nationwide issue was first reported by Edinburgh Airport amongst Birmingham Airport, Manchester Airport, London Heathrow, Gatwick, London Luton and Stansted also faced huge queues. There are more than 270 eGates (automated electronic gates) at 15 airports and Eurostar terminals across the country.

eGates uses facial recognition to check the identity of passengers against their passport photo. It helps to speed up border control processes where passengers look into the camera and scan their passports to gain entry into the country, Manchester Evening News reports.

The automated gates have replaced physical Border Force officers in some areas, but some airports still use both methods. The Home Office said security at the border was not affected by the outage.

In a statement on Friday, April 26, a Home Office spokesperson said: "On Thursday, April 26, a technical issue affected eGates across the country. The issue was quickly identified and has now been resolved. We have comprehensively reviewed the causes and will ensure this issue does not occur again."

Manchester Airport confirmed the issue had been resolved by 7pm on Thursday. One passenger arriving at Manchester Airport said he waited one hour and 20 minutes to pass through passport control at Terminal 3. Tom Amos was flying back from Alicante when he saw a queue filling up three corridors.

Rita Stuart was flying to Turkey when she was turned away and told to come back later. She had tried to get through security less than three hours before her flight was due to take off. She said other passengers were also struggling to scan their passports, adding: "People were quite irate".

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