Computer Glitch Causes Delays At Airports And Sea Ports

Computer glitch causes delays at airports and sea ports

Passengers are experiencing disruption at a number of UK airports and sea ports after an IT glitch, the Home Office has said. Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Birmingham are among the airports which have seen lengthy queues forming after a fault on UK Border Force computers. All sea ports where passport checks are carried out, such as Dover and Southampton, are also affected.

The Home Office said security remained a "priority". The delays are said to be having a particular impact on non-EU passengers, and extra staff have been called in to try to reduce the queuing time.

Gatwick is among the airports where passengers are affected by the IT fault. The BBC’s Sarah Falkland said delays of up to 90 minutes appeared to be forming at Heathrow, while the passenger queuing time at Gatwick was about two hours. She said the problem was affecting both self-service e-Passport gates – which operate by running a facial recognition check against a traveller’s passport – and manned customs desks.

As a result, staff are being forced staff to input passport details manually rather than simply scanning documents. At Gatwick, Chris Hyland, from Islington in north London, said international passengers had been told to expect a wait of up to four hours.

"The international queue is pretty huge, so people have already started sitting down because they know they will be there for a long, long time," he said. […]