Gatwick airport will conduct the UK’s first trial of ‘end-to-end’ biometrics in partnership with Easyjet.
The system uses personal data collected at the airport’s self-service bag drops to enable passengers to use biometric self-boarding gates, which Gatwick says could speed up the boarding process.
The trial will encompass 10,000 Easyjet passengers on European flights, with those wishing to take part but are only travelling with hand baggage allowed to input their data at the entrance to the boarding gate room.
Gatwick says the system only takes 20 seconds to identify each passenger and verify that their passport, face and boarding card all match.
The trial will run for at least three months across Easyjet’s 43 Gatwick routes, which the airport says will allow it to collect enough information to be able to spot trends and adapt the technology to enhance the user experience. It will specifically 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.
Once the technology is fully adapted to this trial data, it will be taken forward for airport-wide implementation.
Chris Woodroofe, COO of Gatwick airport, said: “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.”
Karen Cox, director of ground operations at Easyjet, commented: “Whilst still in its very early stages, this project is clearly consistent with our digital strategy of continuing to innovate to make passengers’ journeys easier at every stage of their interaction with us – from searching and browsing for a flight through to stepping off the aircraft in their destination.”