New ePassport gates unveiled at Heathrow airport
23 October 2015 15:22 GMT

Senior British Border Force officials have opened 15 new eGates in Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Border Force Director General, Sir Charles Montgomery opened the ‘third generation’ eGates, which are expected to process around 400,000 passengers at the terminal each month, are the most state-of-the-art version of gates ever to be used in the UK. 

The eGates can be used by any UK or European Economic Area (EEA) passenger, aged 18 or over, with a 'chipped' passport and use advanced facial recognition technology to compare the passenger's face to the digital image recorded in their passport.

Montgomery said:  “Increasing the use of digital technology at the border is part of Border Force’s commitment to improve the passenger experience.

 “We must protect our borders, but we also want to encourage travellers to the UK - people who boost our economy through tourism and through business.

 “This means ensuring their arrival in the UK is dealt with as swiftly and efficiently as possible while maintaining the integrity and security of the UK.”

 eGates not only benefit British and EEA travellers. Nationals from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan who have successfully been accepted onto the Registered Traveller programme can now also use them.

The first generation of eGates were introduced to the UK in late 2008 at Manchester and Stansted Airports. Following a successful pilot period they were installed at a further eight airports by the summer of 2009.  Second generation gates were implemented at all Heathrow terminals by July 2011.

There are currently 105 new third generation eGates in operation at 12 airport terminals in the UK.  Further installations are planned during 2015/16 and on into 2016/17 to support increased passenger flows. This includes at our juxtaposed sites in Paris and Brussels international rail terminals.