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Heathrow trials biometric self-boarding

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Terminal 1 passengers at London’s Heathrow airport are being invited to take part in a two-month ‘self-boarding’ trial in partnership with South African Airways.

Using these self-boarding gates, passengers pass through an automatic electronic barrier which takes an infrared scan of their face. This information is checked against the biometric data that was taken at the check-in stage. If the data matches, the barrier opens and the passenger can pass through and board their flight.

According to a statement from the airport, this now means that a passenger’s identity needs to be checked by airline staff only once in the entire departure process.

“We are working in partnership with our airlines to trial this technology which should help make our passengers’ journeys smoother and simpler. Since its introduction we have had positive feedback from both airlines and passengers,” Ian Hanson, Heathrow’s Terminal 1 director said.

Reported in BiometricUpdate.com, similar self-service gates at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam have by now processed over one million passengers.

The gates at the Schiphol airport were made by Vision-Box, a Portuguese company specializing in automated border control systems and have also recently installed self-service gates at Riga International in Latvia. 

Likewise, the Gardermoen Airport in Oslo, Norway, is allowing passengers to check themselves through the gates using a biometric EasyPASS gate system.

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