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UK airports paralyzed by nationwide system outage (VIDEOS)

A glitch in the automated check-in systems caused travel chaos across the country

Airports across the United Kingdom were struck with delays on Tuesday evening after a nationwide “technical issue“ made the UK Border Force electronic systems glitch for more than four hours. The slowed service led to delays and long queues among arrivals in airports around the country.

Footage circulating online showed the extensive queues that built up as services slowed to a crawl. Some customers complained that the unexpectedly long queues were straining infrastructure, reportedly leaving some customers without adequate water and toilet access. Others also showed blank screens at the eGates.

Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh airports confirmed problems with the Border Force system, which resulted in the long delays with arriving travelers on Tuesday, the BBC wrote.

Seems to be a UK nationwide airport system crash. No e gates working. This is the current queue in Gatwick airport with lots of children and no water #welcometotheuk pic.twitter.com/ckT21gJYXx

— Rosie (@rxsiebo) May 7, 2024

The system network issue was detected at 7:44 on Tuesday evening, the Home Office said in a statement on Wednesday. “E-gates at UK airports came back online shortly after midnight,” they announced, adding that “at no point was border security compromised and there is no indication of malicious cyber activity.”

E-gates down at LHR T3, and seemingly across @HeathrowAirport. Border Force suggests to passengers it might be a nationwide outage. pic.twitter.com/XzAJcyoI95

— Richard Gaisford (@richardgaisford) May 7, 2024

There are over 270 eGates across UK airports and rail stations, according to the country’s government website. They normally allow for fast service using facial recognition, for UK and EU citizens, among others. However, Belfast airport, which doesn’t have eGates, also saw its Border Force systems impacted, according to the BBC.


READ MORE: UK flight chaos worsened by remote working – report

Tuesday was not the first time IT issues have brought the UK’s airports to a stand-still. In August of last year, an air traffic control meltdown, caused by a glitch in the computerized flight planning system led to some 1,500 flights being canceled. Over 700,000 passengers were impacted overall, with some 300,000 by cancellation, the UK Civil Aviation Authority estimated in March

 

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