U.K. Airports, Eurostar Hit by Brief Border Software Outage
(Bloomberg) -- A software outage temporarily affected the U.K. Border Force’s automated entry gates, slowing arrivals at airports across the country.
Hubs in London Heathrow and Manchester reported issues and Channel Tunnel rail service Eurostar International Ltd. was also affected before the Home Office said the problem was resolved.
“We’re aware of a systems failure impacting the e-gates, which are staffed & operated by Border Force,” Heathrow said in a tweet. “This issue is impacting a number of ports of entry.”
Travelers reported long lines at Heathrow, with documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux describing a “human logjam” at the nation’s largest airport. Passengers on at least one incoming flight posted messages saying they’d been held on the plane before being allowed to disembark.
The issue was quickly identified and resolved, a Home Office spokeswoman said by email. “We have been working hard to minimize disruption, and apologize to all passengers for the inconvenience caused,” it said.
London Gatwick opened more manual gates, and had no backups as of 2 p.m. local time, a spokesman said in an email. Manchester, whose parent company also owns London Stansted, was “working hard alongside UKBF to process passengers as efficiently as possible,” it said on Twitter.
Disruption at Eurostar was focused on Border Force e-gates in Paris Gare du Nord station, where London-bound travelers complete U.K. immigration formalities before boarding trains.
“Passengers were being manually checked by Border Force staff in Paris,” a spokeswoman said by email. “There was no impact on our service in terms of departure times.”
The e-gates are now back to normal, she said. Similar gates at London St Pancras station run by French immigration officials weren’t affected.
Outages are common, and the problem would likely be related to central servers, said Lucy Moreton, a spokeswoman for the Immigration Services Union, whose members include Border Force staff.
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