Heathrow airport has announced a £50 million project to test the use of end-to-end biometrics that will bring facial recognition to each part of a departing passenger’s journey.

The roll-out will begin in summer 2019 and Heathrow claims the technology could reduce the average passenger’s journey time by up to a third.

The technology will use facial recognition at check-in, bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates.

Heathrow has run trials of the technology throughout 2018 and says customer feedback has been positive, spurring the airport to roll out biometrics on a wider scale.

The airport says the technology can also ‘significantly reduce’ the amount of paper used during the passenger journey.

The news comes after a survey of passengers by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows 65 per cent of respondents would be happy to share their personal data to expedite the security process. A further 45 per cent are willing to replace their passports with biometric identification.

Jonathan Coen, customer relations and service director at Heathrow airport, 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.”


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