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Thu, 25 Oct 2018

London Heathrow Begins World’s Largest Biometrics Roll Out

London Heathrow is to streamline the passenger journey from check-in to take-off, with new biometric technology that is designed to reduce the average passenger’s journey time by up to a third.

The new technology uses facial recognition at check-in, bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates to create a seamless experience for passengers travelling through the airport.

 The £50 million project is part of a wider programme of investment to streamline passenger journeys and once complete will mean that Heathrow will have one of the world’s largest deployments of biometric products.

London Heathrow is to streamline the passenger journey from check-in to take-off, with new biometric technology that is designed to reduce the average passenger’s journey time by up to a third. The new technology uses facial recognition at check-in, bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates to create a seamless experience for passengers travelling through the airport. Click to enlarge.

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.

 The long-term aim of the technology will be for passengers to be able to walk through the airport without breaking their stride. Something, it seems, most travellers would welcome. IATA research shows that 64% of passengers would choose to share their biometric data in exchange for a better experience when travelling. Facial biometrics are more accurate than manual checks and offer increased security, demonstrating how technology helps us without impacting on passenger experience.

Heathrow has already begun using facial recognition in some stages of the passenger journey, both on entry to the UK at the Border with the biometric e-gates. The technology is also used for domestic journeys through the airport, but this will be the first time that Heathrow will use the technology at every stage of the departing passenger’s journey. This has the potential to allow for greater personalisation of passenger services, useful for passengers requiring additional assistance.

Heathrow Customer Relations and Service Director, Jonathan Coen, 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.” 

The full-scale roll out of the new biometric services will take place from the summer of 2019.

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