British Airways introduces facial recognition border control gates at Heathrow airport

March 24, 2017 - 

British Airways is introducing facial recognition-based border control technology that will seamlessly and quickly identify passengers at boarding gates in London’s Heathrow Airport, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Facial recognition devices at the airport’s main security-screening area in Terminal 5 capture a traveler’s facial features along with the boarding pass.

The kiosks then run a facial scan at the gate to verify the traveler’s identity, allowing them to board the plane without displaying any documents, according to a British Airway memo to staff.

Three gates at Heathrow are currently using the technology, with another 33 planned in the coming months, British Airways said.

The facial recognition system will be used initially only for domestic flights, and will eventually be expanded to international flights.

British Airways already operates self-service luggage check-in desks at both Heathrow and London Gatwick airports as part of CEO Alex Cruz’s four-year reorganization initiative that includes investments to improve travelers’ flight access.

“The addition of self-boarding gates, along with self-serve bag drop points, are just two of the ways in which we are investing in areas our customers value most,” said Troy Warfield, director of customer experience at the airline.

In addition to several airports in the U.S. and Japan installing facial recognition systems, many airports are currently testing the biometric technology, including Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and KLM at Amsterdam Schiphol airport.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.