Passport checks using biometric e-gates will be extended to children aged 10 and 11 after several successful trials at Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow.
The age of passengers using e-gates was lowered from 12+ years, allowing more families to be seamlessly processed through the airport together.
The expansion of the service for 10 and 11 year olds who are accompanied by an adult will come into effect on Monday 24 July, 2023 guaranteeing smoother return journeys for UK families and visitors travelling to the UK during the peak summer season.
With travel resuming to pre-pandemic levels, flight volume is forecast to reach 32.4 million passengers in 2023, according to Statista. The incentive of easier travelling for families may trigger an even bigger surge, with 400,000 children 10 and 11 year-olds expected to make use of e-gates at airports.
Despite reports of e-gate failures across major airports and the Eurostar in May, biometric technology has infiltrated the aviation and travel industry based on solid trust values. Long queues at e-gates affected by a “system fault” created disruption for hundreds of customers.
The current supplier of eGates to the UK Home Office is Vision Box who signed a single contract awarded in 2013 and valid until 2023-24.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said on additional security and user benefits:
“Families with children over the age of 10 will be able to benefit from quicker entry into the UK using eGates. This national rollout will make travelling easier for passengers and strengthens the security of the UK border”.
“The UK processes more passengers through eGates than any other country – and today’s announcement ensures we remain at the forefront of technology”.