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Queues build at major UK airports as electronic passport gates fail

Passengers arriving at major airports around London at the start of the bank holiday weekend are facing delays after problems with electronic passport gates.

The gates at airports including Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick and Luton started to have problems on Friday night. Delays of up to three hours have been reported.

Photographs by travellers posted on social media showed crowded passport control queues, with some reporting little movement.

In a tweet, a spokesperson for Heathrow airport said: “We are aware of a nationwide issue impacting the eGates, which are operated by Border Force. This issue is impacting a number of ports of entry and is not Heathrow specific.

“Our teams are working closely with Border Force to help resolve the problem as quickly as possible and we have additional colleagues on hand to manage queues and provide passenger welfare. We apologise for any impact this is having to passenger journeys.”

Separate IT issues affected 20,000 British Airways passengers on Friday, causing more than 175 flights to be cancelled. It went on to affect services on Saturday morning.

Disruption was also affecting travel on ferries between Dover and Calais, as a problem with IT systems in French passport control was delaying arrivals into France. Passengers were being told to allow two hours for border controls and to check in at the UK’s main passenger port.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are aware of a nationwide border system issue affecting arrivals into the UK.

“We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and are liaising with port operators and airlines to minimise disruption for travellers.”

It said Border Force had plans to deploy officers to help minimise delays and disruption.

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