Heathrow has announced plans for a new £50 million biometrics project, which it says will see the airport offer “the world’s largest deployment of biometrically enabled products including bag drops and self-boarding gates”.
The project will include the airport’s first end-to-end biometrics trial, with plans for a full-scale roll out of new biometric services from next summer.
The airport already uses biometric technology for domestic journeys, and at border entry to the UK with biometric e-gates, but the plans will see facial recognition at “each point of the departing passenger’s journey”, including check-in, bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates.
Heathrow said that the technology could reduce the average passenger’s journey time by up to a third, and cited IATA research which shows that 64 per cent would be prepared to share biometric information in return for a smoother journey.
The airport said that the long term aim of the technology will be “for passengers to be able to walk through the airport without breaking their stride”.
In a press release Heathrow said that “Currently, manual authentication means that passengers need to present different forms of ID such as boarding cards, booking reference numbers as well as their passports to different agents to show that they’re authorised to travel”.
“By offering passengers the option to use more instant facial recognition technology they will have the choice to streamline that process and collectively significantly reduce the amount of paper used when flying.”
Last month Delta announced plans for the first biometric terminal in a US airport, at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International’s Terminal F.