Cardiff Airport starts facial recognition scanners

Hotel News - 19/11/2009

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The Welsh travel hub, Cardiff Airport, has recently installed new facial recognition gates at the airport’s arrival lounge hoping that the modern scanners will be able to fast-track inbound air travellers. Better than ordinary airport gates, the e-passport gates can quickly check air travellers’ information against security watch-lists. In addition, the machines only take seconds to scan a passenger’s face and to compare it against the digital photo in the passport.

The gates are being operated in partnership between Cardiff Airport and the UK Border Agency (UKBA). The new voluntary face detection system, currently under trial in Bristol, Manchester and Stansted, is planned to be set up in 10 UK airports. The next airports where the technology will be implemented are Birmingham, East Midlands, Gatwick North and Luton.

Bob Lyne, Assistant Director of UKBA for Wales, informed that the UK’s border security is one of the toughest in the world. He further added that the new facial identification gates at Cardiff Airport would enhance the air terminal’s immigration service, and will help make the country’s border more secure and safer.

Russell Clements, Acting Director of Operations at Cardiff Airport, informed that business travellers are now increasingly using the e-gates at the airport. It is estimated that over 860,000 passengers have used the scanners at Cardiff Airport to date.

The innovative gates are accessible to any European adult who carries a biometric passport. In the UK, over 17 million biometric passports, which contain the holder’s digital photo, have been issued by the government since 2006.

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