Border Force chaos resolved at UK airports like Heathrow and Gatwick with passport gates in meltdown

ITV News reporter Callum Watkinson has the latest on the airport disruption

Passengers returning to the UK's major airports have experienced long delays because of problems with electronic passport gates.

The e-gates at airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Newcastle Airport started experiencing problems on Friday night, with widespread disruption across the country.

One traveller arriving into Gatwick said on Twitter, "3 hour delay. Flown to Gatwick instead of Heathrow with no warning and now @Gatwick_Airport can’t process anything."

"An utter joke" was the way another passenger described it.

ITV's Good Morning Britain's Richard Gaisford was caught up in the problems at Heathrow Credit: @richardgaisford

The glitch in the system is causing frustration with passengers venting their anger after being forced to wait in long queues,

Chris Davey Tweeted, "Total chaos at Gatwick Passport control. Queues of over an hour due to computer gates all unserviceable. Whoever is responsible needs to be fired."

Meanwhile the situation at Heathrow looked equally as grim on Saturday morning as passengers posted pictures of long-snaking queues on social media.

Lina Tayara said, "Returning from Dubai overnight to this mother of queues. Apparently national outage in border control machines so manual passport checks.

"My plane landed at 6am, there is still a sea of people in front of me, passport checks are being done manually."

A Home Office spokesperson said, “Following a technical border system fault which affected e-Gate arrivals into the UK, we can confirm all e-Gates are now operating as normal.

“We thank those travellers who were impacted for their patience and staff for their work in resolving the issue.”

With this weekend set to one of the busiest for airports and airlines since the pandemic the problems couldn't have come at a worse time.

It follows separate IT issues at British Airways which affected 20,000 people on Friday and have already had an impact on flights taking off on Saturday.

The IT issues with the e-gates appear to be affecting airports Nationwide with Stansted sending this message out at 1am,

Lina Tayara landed at Heathrow at 6am on Saturday and is experiencing delays with a queue as far as the eye can see Credit: Lina Tayara

"UK Border Force is currently experiencing an outage affecting its e-gates. There are currently no significant queues, but this may result in longer waiting times. Our team is working with UKBF to support their operations and minimise disruption. We appreciate your understanding."

The automated e-gate system is available for British citizens aged over 12 and those from the EU, as well as people from several other countries including Australia, Canada, the US, Japan and New Zealand.

A Gatwick Airport spokesperson told ITV News, "Some passengers may experience delays at immigration due to a nationwide issue with UK Border Force e-gates.

Our staff are working with UK Border Force - who operate passport control including the e-gates - to provide assistance to passengers where necessary.”

Heathrow Airport posted on Twitter: "We are aware of a nationwide issue impacting the eGates, which are operated by Border Force.

"This issue is impacting a number of ports of entry and is not Heathrow specific.

"Our teams are working closely with Border Force to help resolve the problem as quickly as possible and we have additional colleagues on hand to manage queues and provide passenger welfare. We apologise for any impact this is having to passenger journeys."

Border Force said they had robust plans in place to support passenger flow and minimise waiting times.