The UK Border Agency has announced that passengers returning to the UK via Manchester International Airport are being encouraged to save time at the border by using our facial recognition gates.
The state-of-the-art gates, which were recently launched at Terminal 2 after their successful installation at Terminal 1 last year, provide legitimate travellers with an automated, secure route through the UK border. More than 300,000 people have already used them at the airport.
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 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 yesterday, 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.’
Mr Woolas also met the UK Border Agency dog team based at the airport, which are responsible for detecting goods – including drugs, cash, endangered species and products of animal origin – that people try to smuggle into the country illegally.
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