Britain’s automated border control gates have returned to normal operation, the Home Office said on Saturday, after a nationwide system issue caused major delays.

Images posted on social media earlier showed long queues of hundreds of people at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, with frustrated passengers complaining of having to wait several hours in line.

“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,” Britain’s interior ministry said in a Twitter post.

A sign is seen at the arrivals passport control area of Terminal 5, at Heathrow Airport, London, Britain, March 23, 2023. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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

While many foreign visitors to Britain need to see a border control officer upon landing, others, including British, EU and U.S. citizens, can use the automated gates known as e-gates to scan their passports and enter the country.

The issue with the automated gates, which came during a busy period for travel in Britain with a spring bank holiday on Monday and a half-term break for schools next week, meant all passengers had to be processed at manual checkpoints.

British airlines and airports have faced other disruption over the past year including from separate strikes involving airport staff and Border Force workers, and from cancelled flights caused by staff shortages last summe

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