London City Airport is to become the first airport in Europe to deploy terminal-wide biometric security measures for all employees. In the longer term, passengers to the US will have to go through biometric and passport control
The move, which is intended to tighten airport security and improve flight safety in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks in 2001, will require all airport employees entering restricted zones to get through two security checks.
Firstly they will be required to present a photo ID pass to an electronic reader as they have done previously, but then they will have their fingerprint checked by a scanner from biometrics firm Daon, to confirm their identity and authorise access.
The deployment marks the completion of stage one of the airport's plans for biometric security. The longer term goal will see passengers passing biometric tests -- with applications such as facial recognition, iris scanning and fingerprint reading set to play a role in the future of passport control.
By 2004 it is expected that passengers flying to the US from the UK and 27 other countries will be required to provide biometric information for identification purposes.
Oliver Tattan, chief executive of Daon, said: "This is a first of its kind with a biometric infrastructure in place that includes all staff across all security areas. Built-in scalability means that London City is now best prepared for the public roll out of biometric checks as airports across Europe adopt the new security levels set out by US and European governments."
Richard Gooding, managing director of London City Airport, said: "Since the tragic events of 11 September the safety and security of the world's civil aviation has taken on a greater urgency. Realising the value of biometrics, we worked very closely with Daon to develop a biometric solution to integrate with our existing security system and procedures.
"Although companies within all industries are now using biometrics for authentication in a variety of situations, technologies are evolving and emerging towards large scale use. In the travel industry biometric applications are being significantly developed to support and simplify passenger travel."