Page last updated at 07:07 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Airport starts facial recognition

An eye being scanned
Biometric testing will scan people's faces for recognition

Cardiff Airport is introducing facial recognition gates for passengers at the arrivals lounge.

The new gates will be available for any UK or European adult with a biometric passport issued since 2006.

The machines are designed to take seconds to scan passengers' faces against digital photos in passports.

The voluntary system is being introduced in a trial at 10 UK airports and is already operating at Manchester, Stansted and Bristol.

The gates are being run in partnership between the UK Border Agency and Cardiff Airport.


Bob Lyne, UK Border Force assistant director for Wales, said: "Britain's border security is among the toughest in the world and by using new technology we are making the border even more secure."

He said the facial recognition gates at Cardiff would improve its service and help to make the UK safer.

Russell Clements, acting director of operations at the airport, added: "The e-passport gates will enhance the customer experience for Welsh passengers and inbound visitors alike by giving those who are able to use them a choice.

"The uptake of use since the launch has been positive with business travellers in particular opting for the more convenient e-passport gate option."

The e-gates will still check against security watch-lists in the same way as the usual manual gates.

Passengers will still be subject to random manual checks.

More than 17m biometric passports, which contain a facial image, have been issued in the UK since their introduction in 2006.

The next airports where the technology will be introduced are Birmingham, East Midlands, Gatwick North and Luton.

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