International passengers travelling to the United Kingdom have faced unexpected delays after system-wide technical issues prevented passport e-gates from functioning correctly. The nationwide issue is the responsibility of the UK Border Force, which operates the passport control system.

“As soon as engineers detected a wider system network issue at 19:44 pm last night, a large scale contingency response was activated within six minutes,” a Home Office spokesperson explained to FINN. “At no point was border security compromised and there is no indication of malicious cyber activity”.

Frustrated passengers unable to use the automated self-service biometric barriers faced significant delays as airports were forced to resort to processing passengers manually. Many took to social media to voice their frustration, including a traveller at London Gatwick who noted that travelators had been turned off as the queue for passport control had extended past them.

“Border Force has told us it has opened all available Passport Control desks and asked its staff to stay on to help as many customers as possible,” wrote British Airways on social media. “While this is a Border Force issue and outside of our control, we are doing our best to provide information and look after our customers”.

The Home Office confirmed that the UK airport’s eGates came back online shortly after midnight. This incident is the second of kind this year, with the e-gate system having experienced a similar outage on 7 May.
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