BA introducing biometric boarding gates at Heathrow, further reducing numbers of airport jobs
Airports always promise huge numbers of jobs if they expand. The reality is that airports and airlines are cutting jobs as fast as they can, and having everything mechanised. It is cheaper not to have many employees. Now British Airways (BA) is introducing automated biometric technology to create self-service boarding gates at Heathrow. Passengers passing through the security channel will have a digital scan of their face recorded. When they arrive at the gate and scan their own boarding pass, their face is matched with the previously recorded data. If the two digital images match, the passenger is allowed to board. The system was trialled in June 2016, and is now being rolled out, with 3 of these gates (for domestic flights only) at Terminal 5. BA plans to open 3 more of these self-boarding gates every week until mid-June. It will finally be extended to international flights. BA has also opened self-service bag drops at both Heathrow and Gatwick – doing away with more jobs. Back in 1999 when Heathrow got consent for its 5th Terminal, the airport said there would be 16,000 more jobs by 2016. When probed, Heathrow is unable to even give a number for the jobs at T5, let along prove there has been much of a rise in employment. All they will say is that in July 2013, 76,600 were directly employed on the Heathrow site.
British Airways introduces biometric boarding gates
Apr 7, 2017
By Alan Dron (ATW)
Biometric self-boarding gates—Domestic stands at Heathrow Airport T5
British Airways (BA) is introducing automated biometric technology to create self-service boarding gates at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Passengers passing through the security channel will have a digital scan of their face recorded. When they arrive at the gate and scan their own boarding pass, their face is matched with the previously recorded data. If the two digital images match, the passenger is allowed to board.
BA said the system, which was trialled in June 2016, is now being rolled out, with the first three boarding gates for UK domestic flights at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 now fitted with the necessary equipment.
The carrier plans to open three more self-boarding gates for domestic services every week until mid-June, with the aim of extending it to international flights at a yet-to-be-determined date.
BA said the Heathrow equipment is more advanced than alternative systems used by other airlines and airports.
The UK flag carrier has also opened self-service bag drops at both Heathrow and London Gatwick and, later in 2017, will open an improved connections area at Heathrow Terminal 5 for passengers switching flights.
“Our customers have told us that they want the ability to simplify and speed up their journeys through the airport,” BA director of customer experience Troy Warfield said.
Stop Heathrow Expansion casts doubt on Heathrow’s 3rd Runway jobs claims, from past experience
Local group, Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) has unearthed figures which throw into question the claims Heathrow is making about the number of jobs a third runway will create. Stop Heathrow Expansion, which represents people in the Heathrow villages, some of whom work at the airport, says Heathrow are hiding behind a wall of secrecy over exactly how many jobs Terminal Five, the last major development at the airport, actually created.
The report of the public inquiry inspector which gave the green light to the 5th terminal in March 1999 concluded that by 2016 the terminal would provide an additional 16,000 on-airport jobs.
Heathrow has told SHE that it cannot confirm the actual number of jobs which have been created because “finding out would be a substantial piece of work in its own right.” Heathrow annual reports indicate there were 6,714 staff employed in UK Continuing operations in year ended 31.12.2015 and 7,354 staff in year ended 31.12 2013 (ie. 9% lower) and 7,406 in year ended 31.12.2012.
Heathrow said that in July 2013, 76,600 were directly employed on the Heathrow site. The Airports Commission’s Final Report said the Heathrow NW runway would generate around 75,000-78,000 in 2050.”(and an additional 59-77,000 jobs in 2030). These numbers were later reduced by the DfT in October 2016 to more like up to about 37,000 – and many of those would be people moving from jobs elsewhere, or moving to better jobs. That is not the same as “new” jobs.