Heathrow Prepares for Largest Biometrics Roll out  

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5A, airside, automated self-boarding gates, April 2017.

Heathrow Airport has announced it is launching its first end-to-end biometrics trial which will bring facial recognition to each point of a departing passenger’s journey.

The airport said the £50 million project will add to its existing facial recognition technology and speed up the check in, bag drop and boarding processes.

The process will begin in the summer of 2019 and, when complete, Heathrow will have the world’s largest deployment of biometrically enabled products.

IATA research shows that 64% of passengers would choose to share their biometric data in exchange for a better experience when travelling.

Heathrow’s statement said: “facial biometrics are more accurate than manual checks and offer increased security, demonstrating how technology helps us without impacting on passenger experience.”

Heathrow’s customer relations and service director, Jonathan Coen, commented:

“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.”