Manchester airport installs first-in-U.K. iris scan access control

Published 24 January 2008

The majority of airports around the world use access control cards to regulate the movement of people, but these typically require human presence at each entry point; the 25,000 staff at Manchester airport will now be using iris scans to enter restricted areas; double-door access system governed by iris recognition cameras

Manchester Airport is set to implement the U.K. first iris biometric control portal to regulate staff access. The airport has partnered with the Department for Transport and Liverpool-based Human Recognition Systems (HRS) to deploy the technology. The majority of airports across the United Kingdom and around the world use access control cards to regulate the movement of people. To ensure suitable security levels, however, the systems require a human presence at each entry point which can be time consuming and costly. “We have worked with HRS for nearly five years on a number of projects within the airport concerning the secure and accurate identification of workers,” said Mike Fazackerley, director of security and customer service at Manchester Airport. “The biometric access control project enables us to provide a safe, secure and convenient airport environment for staff.”

The new system enables the airport’s 25,000 staff to access restricted zones through a double door system regulated by iris recognition cameras. Staff no longer have to worry about key cards or key combinations, and intruders cannot piggy-back their way in owing to the use of “single person volumetric access control portals.” Neil Norman, chief executive at HRS, claimed that the system ensures that employees and passengers feel more reassured about the airport’s security. “In particular this partnership shows how biometric systems, in this case a 25,000 user iris recognition system, can result in significant and tangible benefits to a large scale business,” he said.