Passenger Authentication Scanning System (PASS)


Heathrow Terminals 1 and 5 host both international and domestic flights. The Airport wished to find a solution that would meet the UK Border Force requirement to ensure that passengers cannot swap their boarding cards once they have cleared security and then leave on a domestic departure when they were cleared originally for an international flight.

Importantly, any implementation also had to balance the conflicting factors of security, cost and speed of use.


Atkins worked with Aurora to implement its Passenger Authentication Scanning System which uses biometric facial recognition to link a passenger to their boarding pass.

The system amalgamates online check-in, airline data, biometric facial recognition technology and departure lounge systems into one seamless ‘end-to-end’ solution. In order to accommodate the varying lighting conditions that are found in the Terminal, PASS employs infrared technology to secure facial recognition of a passenger.

Thanks to comprehensive trialling, bench testing and close working with the client, PASS carefully balances the three competing factors identified by the Airport. The system offers quick and simple identification capture and enrollment, it operates on Heathrow’s standard client and server machines and it meets the stringent standards of the UK Border Force.


PASS has been in operation at Heathrow since 2012 and since its inception has successfully processed millions of passengers.

This solution is now being extended in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 with the introduction of Self-Boarding channels which will allow passengers to board their flight using a self-service gate.