New technology could help reduce passenger journey times by a third

Posted On: 
24th October 2018

Biometric technology currently being implemented at Heathrow Airport has the potential to reduce the average passenger’s journey time by up to a third. By using biometrics at every point of departure, from check-in to take-off, the airport can significantly improve the passenger experience. 

Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, is leading a demonstration of these technologies as part of a Heathrow automation event this week, showing how its cutting-edge identity management tool integrates solutions from Yoti, Aurora, Rockwell Collins, ICM, and DormaKaba. 

The end-to-end biometrics solution shows how facial recognition technology can work at every point of the departing passenger’s journey. It is part of Heathrow Airport’s £50 million automation programme that, once implemented, will be the world’s largest deployment of biometrically enabled products including bag drops and self-boarding gates. 

Steve Tasker, Atkins Aviation Market Director, said: “We believe technology has the power to transform people’s experience at airports. The technologies we’re demonstrating this week will fundamentally change the way passengers travel through Heathrow. It’s a perfect example of how technology continues to improve everyone’s lives.” 

Stakeholders attending the off-airport demonstration will see how the departure process would work through different passenger scenarios, from an international flight with baggage to a domestic flight with no baggage. The long-term aim is for all passengers to be able to walk through the airport without breaking their stride. 

Jonathan Coen, Heathrow Customer Relations and Service Director, said: “As our passenger numbers continue to grow, we must look for innovative ways to make it easier and quicker for them to travel through Heathrow with choice, whilst keeping our airport secure. Biometrics are key to helping us do that and we are really excited about the biggest roll out of this equipment at any UK airport.” 

Atkins has previously helped Heathrow implement facial recognition technologies in some stages of the passenger journey, including the biometric pre-security and self-boarding gates. When the technologies demoed this week are implemented, it will be the first time the airport will use them at every stage of the departing passenger’s journey. 

The new technologies are expected to be implemented at the airport from the summer of 2019.