UK passport control hit by outage causing long waits at airports

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Long queues were building at British airports on Tuesday night after the country's Border Force suffered a nationwide technical issue that affected passport control.

Britain's leading airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted in the south, Manchester in northern England, and Edinburgh in Scotland, said they were aware of a nationwide problem and their staff were working with Border Force officials to help resolve the issue.

One traveller described border officials rushing to manually process passport holders.

Videos posted on social media platform X showed long queues of passengers at passport desks in airports including London's Stansted and Heathrow.

"We are aware of a technical issue affecting e-gates across the country," a Home Office spokesperson said.

"We are working closely with Border Force and affected airports to resolve the issue as soon as possible and apologise to all passengers for the inconvenience caused."

Britain's automated border gates system crashed in May 2023, causing long queues and several hours of delays for passengers.

The country's air traffic system also went into meltdown in August 2023 when a technical problem disrupted the National Air Traffic Service for several hours.

Border Force is a law enforcement command within the Home Office, or interior ministry, which operates passport control and e-gates at airports.

According to a statement by Heathrow, all border force systems are now running as usual and they "do not expect any issues" on Wednesday morning "when the operation starts up".

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