Shropshire Star

Minister orders Border Force to ‘see me in my office’ after e-gates failure

The 24-hour outage caused long queues at airports across the UK on May 26 and 27.

A Border Force official

Aviation minister Baroness Vere joked that Border Force should “see me in my office” after passport e-gates stopped working during the May half-term holiday.

The 24-hour outage caused long queues at airports across the UK on May 26 and 27.

In a light-hearted speech at an event held by the Airport Operators Association in central London on Monday night, Baroness Vere said she takes her job “very seriously” so went on a “quick trip” to Croatia’s Dalmatian coast ahead of the half-term holiday “just to make sure” airports were running smoothly.

She told the audience: “I think the aviation sector nailed it. Congratulations.

“Border Force, you can see me in office afterwards.”

The e-gate system, which is overseen by Border Force, can be used by some passengers arriving at UK airports, such as British citizens aged at least 12.

Passports are scanned and facial recognition technology is used to confirm the identity of passengers.

When the e-gates failed, all arrivals needed to have their passports manually checked, causing queues lasting several hours.

The Home Office, which is responsible for Border Force, said the problem was caused by “a technical border system fault”.

UK airports have this year generally performed much better than in spring 2022 when the aviation sector failed to recruit and train enough staff to cope with the spike in demand for travel, leading to widespread cancellations and delays.

Baroness Vere said: “From where we were a year ago, it is so much improved.

“I’m so enormously grateful for everybody who has worked so hard to build this sustainable recovery.”

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