Facial recognition scanners to be introduced at Heathrow

Passengers going through terminals one and five at Heathrow will have their faces scanned from next month before they board their planes.

Aug 4, 2011
By Paul Jacques
Graeme Biggar

Passengers going through terminals one and five at Heathrow will have their faces scanned from next month before they board their planes.

Airport operator BAA has confirmed that travellers will be enrolled into a facial recognition system and the biometrics linked with the boarding pass on entry into the common user lounges at the terminals. Passengers will then be verified against their previous enrolment before boarding their flight.

The technology, provided by biometric software firm Aurora in partnership with security company

Atkins, aims to prevent instances where an international passenger swaps tickets with a domestic passenger in the departure lounge.

Atkins’ Passenger Authentication Scanning System (PASS2) has been used at Heathrow since 2008 to help with passenger processing, but this will now be used in conjunction with the Aurora Imaging Recognition (AIR) system to deliver the facial recognition service.

Trials carried out by BAA and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) showed that the technology can deliver an average verification time of 4.7 seconds.

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