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Delays at UK airports after e-gate failure

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UK airports were chaotic on Saturday after glitches in the passport e-gate system held up people arriving in the country for hours.

It comes at a busy weekend with a bank holiday on Monday overlapping with a school holiday.

Travelers said on they waited hours as those eligible to use the e-gates had to have their passports checked by immigration officials instead.

A woman who landed at Heathrow early Saturday wrote: "Returning from Dubai overnight to this mother of queues.

"My landed at 6 am, there is still a sea of people in front of me, passport checks are being done manually."

London's two main airports—Heathrow and Gatwick—were among those affected.

Heathrow said it was "working closely with Border Force", which operates the e-gates, "to help resolve the problem as quickly as possible" and has deployed additional staff.

The Home Office said the Border Force had "robust plans in place" to send its officers to help reduce wait times.

There are over 270 e-gates at 15 air and rail ports in the UK, according to the government, available to British nationals, EU citizens over the age of 12 as well as passport holders of several other countries, such as Australia and Canada.

On Saturday evening, the Home Office said the issue was resolved.

"Following a technical border system fault which affected e-gate arrivals into the UK, we can confirm all e-gates are now operating as normal," it said.

The come after the UK's British Airways airline canceled dozens of flights through Heathrow airport over the course of Thursday and Friday following a knock-on technical issue.

Long queues also formed at Dover, a major port for ferries to France in the southeast of England, on Saturday due to IT issues at French control.

The Port of Dover said on Twitter that the were resolved and that the average waiting time was down to 30-45 minutes, compared to 90 minutes earlier in the day.

© 2023 AFP

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