Brit holidaymakers WON’T need passports to fly abroad from this summer


Britain’s biggest airport Heathrow is introducing facial recognition technology at check-in in the coming months.

Passengers will go to automated kiosks and will simply have to smile at the camera to be checked in.

Their first visit will require them to scan their passport so the information is stored in the system.

But subsequent travels will just require them to pose for a picture so the machine compares it to the previously scanned passport.


(Pic: BA)

The £50million project is predicted to chop the average passenger’s journey through the airport by “up to one-third”.

The new technology won’t just be used at check-in, but bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates too.

In October last year, the airport said that it had already begun using facial recognition in some stages of the passenger journey, for example on entry to the UK at the Border with biometric e-gates.

The technology – which is said to be more reliable than manual checks is also used for domestic journeys through the airport.

(Pic: BA)

(Pic: BA)

But this will be the first time that Heathrow will use the technology at every stage of the departing passenger’s journey.

As a result, Heathrow say that it will boast the “world’s largest deployment of biometric” technology.

Alex Macheras, an aviation consultant, told The Times: “Major American airports already have this and Asia is light years ahead in technology.

“From the point of view of convenience it undoubtedly works, although customers will have concerns about how their data is protected and airports must be transparent about this.”

(Pic: GETTY)

(Pic: GETTY)

Jonathan Coen, Heathrow Customer Relations and Service Director, said: “As our passenger numbers continue to grow, we must look for innovative ways to make it easier and quicker for them to travel through Heathrow with choice, whilst keeping our airport secure.

“Biometrics are key to helping us do that and we are really excited about the biggest roll out of this equipment at any UK airport.

“With this technology we’ll be able to offer passengers choice on how they travel through our airport, with colleagues on hand to guide passengers that require it.

“Biometric technology has been well received by our passengers so far and we’re looking forward to working with our colleagues and the airline community as part of our ongoing transformation at Heathrow, with a focus on enhancing passenger experience.”


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