Travel chaos as Heathrow computer system continually crashes and Orange Watchlist is removed
Passengers arriving at Heathrow are forced to queue in quarter-mile lines due to the repeated failure of a new £ 372million computer system.
Border Crossing, the Home Office security database that checks passenger records against terrorism and criminal databases, has reportedly failed several times in recent days.
The software outages have meant that Heathrow’s electronic gates, which process thousands of passengers per hour, cannot be used – leaving all arrivals to be checked manually by border force officials.
The technological chaos comes just months after MPs criticized the project, saying there was “no evidence” that it could handle the expected passenger volumes.
Arrivals to the UK are expected to increase thanks to changes to UK quarantine rules implemented this week, which allow double-bite European and US travelers to enter the country without the need to self-isolate.
A Heathrow spokesperson told the Daily mail, who first reported the software failures: “Border wait times have at times been unacceptable and we have called on the UK government to address the issue urgently.”
The Heathrow problems are accompanied by arguments in Westminster over the future of UK policy on overseas travel.
An orange “watch list” was to be created for countries at risk of moving to the so-called red list, in addition to the five categories already existing on the British government’s travel list.
Red List countries require travelers to be quarantined in a hotel for 10 days and must pay £ 1,750 per adult.
Boris Johnson was due to officially announce the watchlist later this week in a review of travel plans, but rebellion within the Tory ranks saw the plans scrapped.
The proposed watchlist came as reviews of the current traffic light system suggested it was too complicated.
Currently, UK double-bitten travelers and children under 18 do not need to self-quarantine in Orange List countries upon arrival in the UK.