Biometric gate glitch causes chaos in major UK airports

Passport e-gates across the country temporarily stopped working, preventing travelers from boarding their flights.

Large lines formed at major British airports late Tuesday due to a nationwide technical problem impacting biometric passport control operated by the UK’s Border Force.

Among the affected airports were the country’s biggest: Heathrow Airport, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, and Edinburgh.

Videos of passengers waiting circulated on social media, with the border officers rushing to check the passports manually.

The glitch lasted for up to four hours. Currently, all border systems are back to normal. “Following the Border Force national outage yesterday evening, all systems are now running as usual. Passengers can expect to travel through Heathrow smoothly,” wrote Heathrow airport representatives on X.

Statements on Wednesday by Britain's Home Office ruled out the possibility of a cyberattack as the cause of the outage.

ePassport gates made their debut at UK airports in 2008. The system had two major outages last year, which also disrupted the function of airports.

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