LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Home Office said on Saturday that automated border control gates had returned to normal operation after a nationwide system problem caused a major delay.
Pictures posted on social media earlier showed long lines for hundreds of people at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, as frustrated passengers complained of having to wait several hours in line.
The British Home Office said in a tweet on Twitter: “After a technical failure in the border system that affected portal arrivals to the UK, we can confirm that all electronic gates are now operating as normal.”
“We thank those affected passengers for their patience and their staff for their work in resolving the issue.”
While many foreign visitors to Britain need to see a border control officer upon landing, others, including British, EU and US citizens, can use automated gates known as e-gates to scan their passports and enter the country.
The problem with the automated gates, which has come during a busy period for travel in Britain with the spring bank holiday on Monday and a half-term break next week, means all passengers must be processed at manual checkpoints.
British airlines and airports have faced further disruptions over the past year, including from separate strikes involving airport staff and Border Force workers, and from flights canceled due to staff shortages last summer.
(Cover) By Sachin Ravikumar and Kanjik Ghosh; Editing by Kelia Ozel and Jan Harvey
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