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Faro 'leading the way' on biometrics

19 Oct 2007

A home office minister has said that the biometric system in place at Faro airport is a 'sign of things to come' as increasing numbers of people make use of the facility.

Holders of the British biometric ePassport have been able to skip queues at the Algarve hub by using the world's first semi-automatic passport control system.

Fliers are required to hold their passport up to a reader before having their face scanned, enabling the system, known as Rapid, to compare their features to the biometric details stored on their passport.

The procedure can take as little as 20 seconds and effectively carries out the same duty as an immigration officer.

Around 8m ePassports, which are also harder to forge than their regular counterparts, have now been issued to British citizens.

Addressing the Biometrics 2007 exhibition in London, home office minister Meg Hillier said: 'The system in place at Faro is a sign of things to come, as countries all around the world adopt biometric technology to strengthen border controls and the security of their travel documents.'

The Rapid facility, which is also in use at Lisbon airport, is set to be introduced at all of Portugal's airports by the end of the year.

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