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Border Force gates back online after outage chaos as Home Office rules out cyber threat

Simon Calder’s Travel

The Home Office confirmed that it has resolved a nationwide issue with Border Force passport e-gates after an outage caused chaos at airports across Britain.

It also clarified that the glitch in the border control systems was not a cyber attack.

Airports on Tuesday saw long queues and delays after the country’s Border Force passport e-gates were hit by a nationwide glitch. “eGates at UK airports came back online shortly after midnight,” a Home Office spokesperson said in a statement early on Wednesday.

“As soon as engineers detected a wider system network issue at 7.44pm last night, a large scale contingency response was activated within six minutes.

“At no point was border security compromised, and there is no indication of malicious cyber activity.”

Pictures on social media showed enormous queues in front of the gates at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Edinburgh and Manchester as thousands waited for their passports to be checked.

The Home Office spokesperson also apologised to “travellers caught up in disruption” and thanked “partners, including airlines for their cooperation and support” during the outage.

Paul Curievici, a traveller from Surrey, experienced delays at the Gatwick Airport after landing from Lyon on Tuesday. He waited in line for almost an hour at passport control though he found the prioritization of fast-track passengers frustrating.

“There was an awkward moment – half of us had been funnelled into the ‘all passports’ queue. When the system came back online they reopened almost all the UK/EU gates without opening any for us – I actually raised it with a member of staff and they finally opened one,” He told the PA news agency.

Earlier, passenger Harmeet Singh, who arrived at Stansted on Tuesday evening, described the delays as “complete madness” with no one in charge.

He told The Independent: “We noticed huge lawless queues with no one in charge. My wife has a back muscle injury and I asked staff three times for a chair but they were unhelpful.

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“More and more passengers arrived, the walkways to the toilets were blocked, 10-15 disabled passengers were waiting and unhappy. It was complete madness.”

Another passenger said he landed at Manchester Airport and faced “huge queues” for…

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