London Heathrow Airport has unveiled its plans for a full-scale roll out of new biometric services from the summer of 2019. The development will streamline the passenger journey from check-in to take-off and could reduce the average journey time by up to a third.
The new technology uses facial recognition at check-in, bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates to provide a seamless journey. The £50m (US$65m) project is part of a wider program of investment and once complete, will be the world’s largest deployment of biometric products. Passengers have already been trialling the new services throughout 2018.
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 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.
Jonathan Coen, customer relations and service director, Heathrow, 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, while 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.”