Qantas is the latest airline to roll out facial recognition at Heathrow

Image copyright AQA Image caption How we fly at least partly depends on how your face looks.

Qantas Airlines is the latest to introduce facial recognition technology to its check-in at London Heathrow Airport.

Photo officials at Heathrow and Air India’s domestic terminal in Bangalore will use the system, developed by US-based data firm eCornflake, to verify identity.

In a letter to airport workers, the airlines said the technology was “unsatisfactory” at keeping security “safe and secure”.

“The system is unable to record face-to-face exchanges and cannot integrate with current facial recognition systems in place,” it added.

The airline group said its supplier could help address the problems by “closer aligning technology to the needs of our operations team”.

The technology – which can recognise faces in a mobile and stationary setting, including airports, malls and supermarkets – has already been rolled out to airports in Asia.

In Australia, a shortage of mental health workers delayed the use of facial biometrics – and instead adopted iris scans – to expedite the boarding process for some domestic and international passengers.

Qantas also said it had improved its access card security and facial recognition.

“We look forward to working with this technology provider in the near future to improve our processes as we work to better serve our customers, particularly when they fly with us,” it added.

Southwest Airlines is another US airline to trialling the technology.

Flight booking start up Yapta is also to bring similar technology to the UK, but promises to be more consumer-friendly than airports with similar systems.

Launched in 2016, Yapta allows passengers to compare ticket prices with other online travel agents and was once bought by global airlines union IATA, which has an equity stake in Yapta.

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