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Biometrics Reducing Journey Times for Air Passengers

07 November 2018 / by SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (author)
 (photo: Atkins Global)
/ (photo: Atkins Global)

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.

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. 


About Atkins 

Atkins (www.atkinsglobal.com) is one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies, employing over 18,300 people across the UK, North America, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe. We build long-term trusted partnerships to create a world where lives are enriched through the implementation of our ideas.




SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.


SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

Founded in 1911, SNC-Lavalin is a global fully integrated professional services and project management company and a major player in the ownership of infrastructure. From offices around the world, SNC-Lavalin's employees are proud to build what matters. Our teams provide comprehensive end-to-end project solutions – including capital investment, consulting, design, engineering, construction, sustaining capital and operations and maintenance – to clients across oil and gas, mining and metallurgy, infrastructure, clean power, nuclear and EDPM (engineering design and project management). On July 3, 2017, SNC-Lavalin acquired Atkins, one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies, which has been integrated into our sectors. www.snclavalin.com.

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