Now boarding at Gatwick Airport: Faces required

The first airport in the UK has announced it will be using facial-recognition cameras. Gatwick Airport confirmed that following a self-boarding trial last year, facial-recognition will be used on a permanent basis for ID checks before passengers are allowed to board. Passports will still be required.

The London airport said this should reduce the time travelers need to spend being processed.

According to a Gatwick Airport spokesperson, “More than 90% of those interviewed said they found the technology extremely easy to use and the trial demonstrated faster boarding of the aircraft for the airline and a significant reduction in queue time for passengers.

“Gatwick [is now planning] a second trial in the next six months and then rolling out auto-boarding technology on 8 departure gates in the North Terminal when it opens a new extension to its Pier 6 departure facility in 2022.”

Passengers will still need to pass through the bag-check security zone, at which point they will need to present a boarding pass as well as scan their passport at the departure gate so the system can match the photo inside to their actual face.

The process is similar to that already used at the ePassport arrival gates at some UK airports. But it differs from Gatwick’s original test, where travellers scanned their faces at the luggage drop-off zone.