The Stack

eGates at multiple UK airports crippled by UK Border Force IT failure

Passengers at Heathrow Airport. Image credit: Yolanda Sun, via Unsplash.com

An IT failure disrupted self-service passport gates at airports across the UK today. Edinburgh, Gatwick, Heathrow, and Manchester airports all reported problems with e-gates, with passengers forced to queue for hours.

The IT issue was resolved shortly after 15:00. The issue — as all airports were quick to point out — stemmed from the failure of a UK Border Force-run IT system, with Edinburgh airport telling passengers earlier today: “The UK Border Force (UKBF) IT issue is nationwide and UKBF teams are working to resolve this.

(The UK Border Force did not comment on the source of the issue and it was unclear if it was an in-house software issue or something related to the software systems of an eGates suppliers.)

Heathrow said it had “called on the UK Government to address the problem as a matter of urgency.”

It updated passengers at 15:20 to say the “systems failure” had “been resolved.”

The UK Border Force runs 270+ eGates at 15 ports around the country “to enable quicker travel into the UK”.

The Home Office told Sky News: “This afternoon a technical issue affected eGates at a number of ports. The issue was quickly identified and has now been resolved”. It did not provide further details.

The government’s 2025 border strategy notes that “respondents to the consultation highlighted that our border systems are too reliant on physical documentation at many stages of the process.”

It adds: “By working together, the border industry, technology firms and government can create a highly digitised and automated border to significantly increase productivity and enable swift and secure clearance for legitimate goods and people at the border, while protecting the UK from security and biosecurity threats.”

But not, of course, if someone pushes buggy code to production, unplugs a rack of servers, or generally triggers widespread borkage. Know exactly what happened? Spill the beans.

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