EU App to Reduce Border Queues for UK Travelers Not Ready for October Launch

The EU's new Entry Exit System faces delays, with Eurostar preparing for border checks at stations to avoid long queues for British travelers. Concerns over potential disruptions as the system launches without the planned app.

Trim Correspondents
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EU App to Reduce Border Queues for UK Travelers Not Ready for October Launch

EU App to Reduce Border Queues for UK Travelers Not Ready for October Launch

The European Union's new Entry Exit System (EES), set to launch in October 2024, will require non-EU citizens to register their fingerprints and a photo at the border. An app developed by the EU was intended to allow passengers to complete this process remotely, reducing congestion and long queues at border terminals. However, Eurostar CEO Gwendoline Cazenave has revealed that the app will not be ready in time for the EES rollout.

As a result, Eurostar is preparing to conduct border checks at stations, with plans to install over 49 kiosks at St Pancras station in London. "We are preparing for the checks to happen at stations," Cazenave told the BBC. "We have over 49 kiosks at St Pancras to organize the flow of customers and provide as much room as possible for a smooth border crossing process."

The Port of Dover is also anticipated to face significant queue challenges due to limited space and the volume of vehicles it handles. The port has called for further delays in implementing the EES IT system to avoid potential disruptions.

Why this matters: The delay in the EU app's readiness raises concerns about potential long queues and congestion for British travelers at EU border terminals when the new Entry Exit System launches in October. This could impact travel plans and cause frustration for passengers, especially during peak travel periods.

Despite these challenges, Eurostar has witnessed a recovery in passenger numbers, returning to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022. The company is anticipating up to two million passengers during the Paris Olympics and Paralympics this summer. Cazenave acknowledged that Eurostar ticket prices are higher than air fares but emphasized the unique service of delivering passengers directly to city centers with no extra charges, along with the growing demand for sustainable travel options.

The EU has stated that it will launch the EES without the app in October, while expressing hope that the app will be deployed soon to streamline the border crossing process. Eurostar and other stakeholders continue to work on preparations to minimize the impact of the new system on travelers, with a focus on ensuring a smooth customer flow through stations and border checkpoints.

Key Takeaways

  • EU's new Entry Exit System (EES) delayed, app not ready by Oct 2023 launch
  • Eurostar to install 49 kiosks at St Pancras to manage border checks at stations
  • Port of Dover anticipates long queues, calls for EES IT system delay to avoid disruption
  • Delay raises concerns about potential congestion for British travelers at EU borders
  • EU to launch EES without app, hopes to deploy it soon to streamline border crossings