Advantage boss calls for ‘robust contingency plans’ after second e-gate failure in two weeks

By Lisa James
08/05/2024
Home » Advantage boss calls for ‘robust contingency plans’ after second e-gate failure in two weeks

The CEO of Advantage Travel Partnership has urged greater investment and better contingency planning to avoid repeats of the chaos caused by last night’s nationwide e-gate failure.

Thousands of passengers at UK airports were caught in long queues after what the Home Office described as an e-gate ‘system network issue’ just before 8pm on Tuesday.

Passengers reported being held on aircraft waiting to disembark, waiting in queues for up to four hours at Border Control and missing trains because of the delays.  

The system came back online around midnight, the Home Office said. It was the second e-gate failure in two weeks.

The BBC said the problem did not appear to just be affecting e-gates, as Belfast International Airport, which does not have them, reported Border Force ‘systems’ had been impacted.

Advantage CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said said: “Travel is increasingly reliant on technology with the use of systems designed to speed up previously sluggish processes such as manual checks at passport control. E-gates enable the UK to improve border control as they allow for a smooth, much faster border experience, where incoming international travellers are required to scan their passports and have their biometric information read which confirms their identity.

“However, the incidents with ePassport gates at UK airports overnight highlights the fact that if we are to rely heavily on technology, there needs to be sufficient investment in the technologies used in travel to ensure that these systems run smoothly and robust contingency plans in place to avoid any unnecessary disruption to travellers.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “E-gates at UK airports came back online shortly after midnight.

“As soon as engineers detected a wider system network issue at 7.44pm last night, a large-scale contingency response was activated within six minutes.

“At no point was border security compromised, and there is no indication of malicious cyber activity.”

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