New Biometric trials at Heathrow to make travel simpler and safer

A new trial, called ‘miSense’, was launched at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3 today. MiSense uses the latest biometric technologies to simplify a passenger’s journey through the airport while further strengthening levels of security.

The project was officially opened by the Minister for Immigration, Liam Byrne MP, and Heathrow CEO, Tony Douglas.

Having enrolled in miSense himself, Liam Byrne MP said: “Biometric ID systems are fundamental to securing our borders in a more mobile age. They are crucial to our plans for counting everyone in and out of the country. This proof of concept shows just how well the technology can work.”

The Trial, which will run until the end of January 2007, in conjunction with the airport authorities and immigration services of the U.K, Dubai and Hong Kong, the airlines Emirates and Cathay Pacific, and leading companies engaged in the Immigration and Border Security Industry.

Passengers travelling on selected Cathay Pacific and Emirates flights are being invited to participate in the first part of the miSense trial at check-in by scanning their passport and right index fingerprint into a specially designed miSense self-service kiosk. This information then becomes a passenger’s secure ‘virtual key’ which will allow them swift access to security control and aircraft boarding using their fingerprint.

The second part of the trial, miSenseplus, also uses biometric information, to trial an international registered traveller programme and fast path on departures and arrival immigration in the UK.

Anyone flying out of T3 can enrol in miSenseplus as long as they are a European Economic Area National, hold a passport valid for at least six months, be aged 18 or over and satisfy UK Government background checks. Passengers will have 13 biometrics captures (10 fingerprints, 2 irises and 1 facial image).

Participating in the trial is easy, free of charge and only takes a few minutes to enrol. Once enrolled, participants will receive a miSenseplus membership card which will allow them to enjoy fast track immigration clearance when arriving and departing.

The third part of the trial, miSenseallclear, involves the testing of interactive Advance Passenger Information (iAPI) for the UK authorities. iAPI is the capability of automatically providing border control agencies with intelligence prior to passengers boarding a plane. As each passenger checks-in, this system enables real-time interaction between airline and government systems. iAPI is already well established in countries such as Australia, Bahrain, Kuwait and New Zealand, where it is used to issue the “authority to carry” at the point of check-in. This trial will provide insight into how iAPI could be implemented in the UK.

miSense is part of IATA’s Simplifying Passenger Travel Programme, and involves a number of key airport, airline, government and technology partners, including Accenture, BAA, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, the Home Office, IER, Raytheon Systems Limited, Sagem Défense Sécurité and SITA.

Extensive research into passenger acceptability and technical performance will be conducted during the trial and used to inform the future design and operation of both airport and border control facilities and services.

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Robert Gibbs, Senior Executive, UK Government Practice, Accenture said; “Close collaboration between organisations like Accenture, BAA, Emirates, and the UK Immigration Service is vital in enabling fast and convenient passage through immigration for travellers. As we work together to develop new tools for more accurate traveller identification, this close collaboration will be key. miSense draws on information from Accenture’s R&D into the business application of biometrics technology to help build faster and more accurate passenger identification systems, improving border security and overall airport operations. miSense also will help inform future initiatives in e-Passports, e-Visas and other identity management programmes.”

“Improving the passenger experience is a key objective of BAA. The sort of technologies and systems that the miSense trials are developing will not only reduce passenger queuing but also further strengthen aviation security.”

Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific, Manager, Customer Services and Product Development Henry Mok said, “Cathay Pacific is pleased to be a part of this new trial to test the use of biometrics technology to help simplify travel. As a premium international carrier, we are committed to working with members of the air travel industry to continue to find effective ways to provide safe, seamless and hassle-free journies for our passengers.”

“Emirates is delighted to again be at the forefront of an innovation in air travel that can only benefit our customers.

“We see this scheme as smoothing the journey through busy airports in the future, eventually creating a ‘fast track’ for all Emirates customers.”

IER is a partner of the miSense trial, the connected self-service journey.

IER develops solutions to optimise operational efficiency and enhance security in flow processing of people, vehicles and goods in the transportation and logistics industries. IER offers to airports and airlines a comprehensive range of solutions complying with IATA’s ‘Simplifying the business’ program including self check-in platform, RFID solution for baggage handling, ATB and bar code printers and gate readers as well as access control systems for passengers and airport staff. As a member of the SPT Regional Group and SPT trial, IER is providing at LHR T3 and T4: IER 978 Self Service check-in kiosks, including Full Page Passport scanning and Fingerprint device as well as Quick Boarding Gates and Unmanned Arrival Gates, also including Finger Print Device.

Raytheon Systems Limited
Brian McKeon, Managing Director and President of Raytheon Systems Limited, said, “Raytheon is playing a key role in the miSense trial by providing programme management, technical oversight, and acting as the Systems Integration Co-ordinator. The company is already a major player in the immigration and border security environment, particularly in the United States. Raytheon employs a suite of proven engineering and programme management processes and tools in order to be able to deliver smart, low-risk and trusted solutions, within budget and schedule, fully meeting the customer’s needs.”

Sagem Défense Sécurité
Sagem Défense Sécurité is proud to be part of the miSense trial by supplying most of the biometric technology of this project: fingerprint, face and iris recognition software, ICAO smart-cards, fingerprint scanners including portable devices and fake finger detection. Participating in this trial has strengthened Sagem Défense Sécurité already large experience in airport passenger processing including automated border control systems such as the IRIS system.

SITA is proud to be supporting the miSense trial through the provision of simulated interactive Advance Passenger Information (iAPI). This, the third part of the trial, is testing the capability of providing UK border control agencies with information prior to passengers boarding a plane. iAPI enables real-time interaction between airline and government systems on a passenger-by-passenger basis. Already well established by SITA in countries such as Australia, Bahrain, Kuwait and New Zealand, this trial will provide insight into how iAPI could be implemented in the UK.