Home » Travel chaos at airports across UK – as London and Manchester confirm nationwide border issue

Travel chaos at airports across UK – as London and Manchester confirm nationwide border issue

Chaos has been reported at airports across the UK – as several airports have confirmed a nationwide border issue.

Both Stansted and Gatwick airports said the issue was related to e-gates at passport control.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Border Force is currently experiencing a nationwide issue which is impacting passengers being processed through the border.

“Our teams are supporting Border Force with their contingency plans to help resolve the problem as quickly as possible and are on hand to provide passenger welfare. We apologise for any impact this is having to passenger journeys.”

UK airports confirmed to be affected by Border Force issue

London Heathrow

London Gatwick

London Stansted







Follow latest: ‘Queues only getting bigger’ after London and Manchester airports confirm nationwide issue

Queues at Gatwick Airport

Queues at Heathrow Airport
Queues at Gatwick Airport

Manchester Airport also confirmed that the UK Border System is down as part of a nationwide outage.

Bristol Airport said on X it had also been affected by the issue as it warned passengers that “e-gates are not available and wait times may be longer than normal”.

A spokesperson for AGS Airports which operates Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports has told Sky News they are impacted by the nationwide outage of the UK Border system.

The flights schedule means they are not currently affected by any queues, but Glasgow airport is due to have international arrivals later this evening.

The spokesperson said that if the situation continues they would expect passengers to be affected at Glasgow airport but contingency plans are in place and extra staff will be on hand to assist passengers.

A London Gatwick spokesperson said: “Some passengers may experience delays at immigration due to a nationwide issue with UK Border Force e-gates.

“Our staff are working with UK Border Force – who operate passport control including the e-gates – to provide assistance to passengers where necessary.”

It said its teams are working to assist passengers in the airport.

A passenger at Gatwick Airport posted a video of the queues, saying on X that there were “lots of children and no water”.

At Gatwick airport, the queue is over an hour long, with people being given no information on how long it may take for them to get through passport control, Sky News understands, while getting people on trains into London has also become an issue.

One passenger at Heathrow Airport said they had already been in the queue for an hour and it was “only getting bigger”.

They added there had been “no communication” on how long it may take to resolve the issue.

Sky News correspondent Sadiya Chowdhury, reporting from Heathrow Airport, said one passenger had been in a queue for about three hours.

Last year, at the end of May, there were similar problems with e-gates and it took a day to resolve the issue as human officers had to check people’s passports while the automated machines were out of service.

The country’s air traffic system also suffered issues in August 2023 when a technical problem disrupted the National Air Traffic Service for several hours.

Stansted Airport said on X: “UK Border Force is experiencing nationwide issues affecting e-gates at a number of airports, including London Stansted.”

They said in a statement to Sky News: “Our operational and customer service colleagues are supporting passengers while UK Border Force and the Home Office fix the issue.”

Queues seen at Manchester Airport. Pic: @GoggleBizTog
Queues seen at Manchester Airport. Pic: @GoggleBizTog

Edinburgh Airport said: “Border Force is experiencing a nationwide technical outage affecting UK airports.

“Although not in a peak arrivals period, some passengers may experience longer than normal waits at the Border while UKBF works to fix the issue.” It added: “Thank you for your patience.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are aware of a technical issue affecting e-gates across the country.

“We are working closely with Border Force and affected airports to resolve the issue as soon as possible and apologise to all passengers for the inconvenience caused.”

Queues at Heathrow Airport
Queues at Gatwick Airport

The disruption comes after Border Force workers staged a four-day strike at Heathrow in a dispute over working conditions last week.

The union said the workers were protesting against plans to introduce new rosters they claim will see around 250 of them forced out of their jobs at passport control.

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