Gatwick airport has partnered with low-cost carrier Easyjet to trial new biometric boarding technology.

The trial – which will involve around 10,000 Easyjet passengers on European flights – will see personal data being collected at self-service bag drops before being used to identify passengers at automated self-boarding gates.

The technology will verify that the passenger’s passport, face and boarding pass all match, in a process which the airport says will take less than 20 seconds.

Those customers travelling without checked luggage who wish to take part in the trial, can do so by having their data collected at the entrance to the boarding gate room.

The trial will last “at least three months” and will involve 43 Easyjet routes departing Gatwick, with the airport saying that “This range should allow the airport to gather enough meaningful information to be able to spot trends and adapt the technology to ensure the optimum experience for passengers”.

Gatwick says that the initiative is the first trial of “end-to-end biometrics”, as the passenger will process baggage using self-service bag drops, before boarding using biometrics technology.

The airport recently announced a trial of autonomous vehicles for staff shuttling between airfield locations.

Gatwick to trial autonomous airfield staff vehicles

The new biometric trial will look at “how long each interaction takes, what this means for queue times, how it simplifies the passenger journey, how passengers interact with the technology, and how intuitive the process is”, and once the data has been gathered Gatwick says the technology will be “adapted and adjusted before taking the idea forward for airport-wide implementation”.

Commenting on the news Gatwick Airport’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris Woodroofe, said:

“Gatwick prides itself on providing innovative solutions to enhance the passenger experience at every touch point.  With the rate of growth we have experienced, it is essential we are able to find more efficient ways of processing passengers through the airport safely and securely.

“Self-boarding technology is the obvious next piece in the jigsaw following extensive investment in our automated check-in and security processing areas.”

British Airways has recently been trialing biometric boarding and arrivals technology at selected US airports including LAX, Orlando, Miami and JFK.

British Airways continues biometric US trials