A new check-in system using biometrics opened today at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Using fingerprint, face and iris recognition, miSense will be tested on selected flights until the end of January 2007. The technology will not only simplify and speed up airport check-in and boarding, but also further strengthen levels of security, experts have said

Passengers traveling on selected flights between Heathrow and Dubai with Emirates airline, or to Hong Kong with Cathy Pacific, will be able to take part in the trials. Participants will simply be asked to scan their passports and right index fingerprint when checking in, using a miSense self-service desk. The information will then be stored and used along with a boarding pass to verify them both at security control and when boarding the plane.

Alex van Someren, CEO of nCipher, the company responsible for securing all collected passenger data, is positive about this new technology.

"The recent long delays at London airports as a result of tightened security checks have highlighted how much we need a more sophisticated system that will strengthen security while improving the passenger experience. This is one of the main aims of miSense," he said.

A second trial, involving the Government Immigration Services of the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, is also scheduled to take place. MiSenseplus will use scans of a passenger's fingerprints, an image of their face and an iris scan to create an automated fast track passport control service.