Tuesday, June 25, 2024

UK govt issued eGate warning after nationwide airport meltdown – NZ Herald

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All 270 eGates scanning passports went into meltdown across the UK on Tuesday, causing delays of up to 3 hours.

After a day of turmoil at UK airports the prospect of further travel chaos is possible after an issue with passport eGates was found to be at the centre of a nationwide meltdown.

Queues at international airports from London to Edinburgh came to a standstill on Tuesday after UK Border Force suffered a glitch with the entry system for travellers.

The issue is understood to have affected all 270 eGates across 15 UK airports.

“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” said a statement from the UK Home Office, issued Wednesday morning. “eGates at UK airports came back online shortly after midnight.”

UK MPs were told that the outage was caused by an issue within the Home Office network.

Home Office minister Tom Pursglove said there was “no indication of malicious cyber activity” and that the outage did not compromise border security, only processing of travellers.

As the second tech failure in as many weeks, and not without precedent, the country’s travel and civil aviation are concerned about the frequency of incidents and overreliance on the eGates. With around 100,000 daily arrivals to the country, many of whom pass through the self-service passport gates, an outage is hard to quickly correct for with manual border checks.

Caroline Carruthers, chief executive of global data consultancy Carruthers and Jackson, told the Independent that the likelihood of another meltdown was not impossible.

“Whenever the running of a vital operation is dependent on science and IT, there is never a guarantee of complete reliability, and there is always the possibility that something unexpected could occur.”

She said that a similar outage could be caused by any one of “a million reasons at some point in the future”.

The outage caused delays of over three hours on Tuesday- with many airports advising passengers to allow extra time due to the eGates issue.

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