Facility for electronically chipped biometric passport-holders
30th November 2009: If you are returning to the UK via Manchester International Airport, save time at the border by using “facial recognition gates”. More than 300,000 people have already used the two gates at the airport for smoother UK entry process.
The state-of-the-art gates, recently installed at terminal two after their successful installation at terminal one last year, provide legitimate travellers with an automated, secure route through the UK border.
Any UK or European passenger aged 18 or over who has an electronically chipped biometric passport, issued since 2006, can choose to use the self-service gates instead of queuing at traditional manned passport controls.
The gates take seconds to scan each passenger’s face against the digital photo recorded in their passport. If there is a match, the gates allow the traveller across the border. The system is monitored at all times by the UK Border Agency officers.
Individuals are checked against international watch-lists before they can pass through the gates, and anyone refused entry will be checked by our officers.
Speaking on a visit to Manchester International Airport, Borders and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: ‘Britain’s border security controls are among the toughest in the world, and by using the latest technology, we are continuing to improve our ability to ensure only legitimate travellers and goods enter Britain.
‘The new facial recognition gates here at Manchester Airport will improve our service to the public and help to make the UK safer.
‘We have also introduced fingerprint visas, which check everyone who wants to come to the UK against immigration and crime databases, identity cards for foreign nationals and the £1.2 billion e-Borders system, which targets terrorist suspects, criminals and would-be illegal immigrants before they can reach the UK.’
The gates are being operated in partnership between the UK Border Agency and Manchester International Airport. The technology has already proved popular at Birmingham, Stansted and Bristol airports, with 860,000 passengers having used the service so far.
Andrew Cornish, managing director at Manchester International Airport, said: ‘We have invested over £50 million in transforming our terminals to improve the airport experience for our passengers. Our passengers tell us that this new technology in our immigration halls provides an even smoother UK entry process.’