UK airports scrap £9 million iris recognition scheme

Birmingham and Manchester airports have scrapped multi-million pound eye scanners, which were introduced to speed up passport control. Heathrow and Gatwick are expected to ditch their scanners after the Olympics.

The Labour government spent around £9million on the Iris Recognition Immigration System – also known as IRIS.

According to ministers the scanners were able to process travellers in as little as 12 seconds, however passengers often spent longer being scanned by the machines than when going through traditional passport control.

Some travellers have had the misfortune of getting trapped inside the scanning booth when they stopped working.

Border Agency bosses have refused to state whether the scanners will be removed completely, and announced they are ‘still considering’ the future of IRIS.

In 2004, then immigration minister Des Brown unveiled IRIS claiming it would provide a ‘watertight’ check of identities as well as slashing queues.

The system was targeted at foreign passport holders within the UK who travel frequently, and want to avoid queues. Users were required to undergo a free 15-minute registration to record the pattern of their iris every two years.

When launched the IRIS system cost £4million to run on top of its £4.9million development cost.

However plans to use the technology for UK passports were dropped after the revelation that one in ten travellers were wrongly rejected by the machine, and then were forced to wait for manual checks.

Lucy Moreton, Immigration Service Union’s general secretary said that the IRIS scheme has had problems from the beginning.

She said: “IRIS scanners are prone to throwing up false alerts when genuine travellers try to use them. We welcome the decision to phase them out”.

James Baker, of privacy group No2ID said: “This is recognition that IRIS scanning is an expensive failure. The money would be better spent employing more trained staff to use their initiative and check passports manually”.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “We are phasing our IRIS and will be replacing it with other types of gates that non-EU passengers will be able to use”.

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh

Most Shocking Items Confiscated By Customs [INFOGRAPHIC]

Airport customs officials spend the majority of their time confiscating bottles of water, hair gel and other trivial items. But thanks to www.netvouchercodes.co.uk we can bring you the rundown of the strangest & most shocking items confiscated at airports around the world.

The list includes everything from dangerous reptiles to dead relatives – and you’ll be amazed what people are prepared to stuff into their undergarments.

Of course there is a more serious side to the job and there seems to be nothing smugglers won’t try in order to carry drugs onto a plane. It’s worth remembering though that not every vibrating suitcase contains a bomb…

Embed Me Here…

If you’d like to feature this infographic on your website or blog, just paste the following code into your site. Please credit netvouchercodes.co.uk.

<div align="center"><a href="http://www.netvouchercodes.co.uk/infographics/NVC-customs-travel-infographic.png" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.netvouchercodes.co.uk/infographics/NVC-customs-travel-infographic.png" alt="Illegal, dangerous & downright weird items confiscated by customs" width="525" height="3372" /></a><br/>Source: <a href="http://www.netvouchercodes.co.uk" target="_blank">NetVoucherCodes.co.uk</a></div>

2011 revealed to be safest year for air travel

With just two weeks left of 2011, figures have shown the year to be the safest for air travel since records began.

 

A study by the International Transport Association (IATA) has revealed the number of fatal air crashes fell from 23 in 2010 to 22 this year, as a result the number of deaths have dropped significantly.

 

Last year 786 passengers and airline crew members were killed in air accidents, however the figure dropped to 486 this year.

 

Gunther Matschnigg, senior vice president for the safety, operations and infrastructure at IATA said: “As of the end of November, global safety performance is at the best level recorded, and is 49 per cent better than the same time last year”.

 

Figures for the IATA date back to as far as 1945, when the collation of records began.

 

European flying has been exceptionally safe this year, as no fatal crashes have occurred on European soil so far this year.

 

North Asia is the only global region to have an unblemished year.

 

Accident rates have dropped in every region of the world, apart from the CIS (the Commonwealth of Independent States – Russia and the former Soviet republics), where records show 1.39 crashes per million take-offs have occurred.

 

However in 2010 the region reported a crash-free year.

 

In 2011, the global accident rate stands at 2.16 crashes per million take-offs.

 

According to statistics Africa remains the most dangerous continent in which to fly. This year, the accident rate for the country stands at 3.93 crashes per million take-offs, however this is an improvement when compared to last years figure of 8.26.

 

Until the 30th November, Africa had held an unblemished fatality record.

 

Mr Matschnigg added: “Overall, African performance is 52 per cent better, that is a great achievement”.

 

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh

5% Decrease In Newcastle Airport Carbon Emissions

Staff at Newcastle International Airport have outdone objectives that had been put in place to reduce their energy usage, allowing them to minimize their carbon footprint by 5%.

Under the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, the airport has to report each year on its emissions and airport companies are hoping that the savings they have chose to make this year will place them highly on the league table of energy efficient companies to be released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change towards the end of the year.

The airport brought in several actions to reduce its emissions such as investing in energy efficiency equipment, keeping workshops to encourage staff to lower their energy usage and monitoring energy use on location.

Businesses of any size can be helped by environmental consultancy services like those provided by Apollo Enviro. Despite the fact that smaller companies are not needed to report on their emissions, all businesses can cut their carbon footprint and do their part for the environment, in addition to possibly even saving money on their energy costs.

UK airport chaos as passport controllers join strike

 

Passport controllers have walked out to join the biggest strike for more than five years.

Brits are likely to face delays if arriving back in the UK today, the strike began last night when Border Agency staff did not turn up for work at airports around the country – leading to long queues at passport control.

To keep up with the flow of incoming travellers, managers attempted to fill spaces, but as airports become busier today queues are likely to grind to a halt.

Officials have said delays are likely for incoming passengers, but departures will largely be unaffected.

Managers have been trained to step in to conduct airport passport checks, while courts will prioritise the most urgent cases.

A spokesman for Virgin said: ‘Virgin Atlantic is working closely with the UK Border Agency to support their contingency planning and minimise disruption to our customers.

‘We will keep our passengers informed of the situation through text messages, advice at check-in and onboard announcements.’

On Gatwick Airport’s website, officials have posted a statement warning of potential delays: ‘Arriving passengers may experience delays at passport control today.

‘We are working with UKBA to keep all disruption to a minimum for our passengers, but please help us by having your passport and travel documents ready for inspection at passport control.’

Eurostar said it was ‘not affected’ by the strikes but had laid on two extra trains today between London and Paris.

STRIKE ACTION: WHICH AIRPORTS ARE AFFECTED

LONDON AIRPORTS: TRAVELLERS ARRIVING INTO HEATHROW, GATWICK, LUTON AND STANSTED COULD ALL FACE DELAYS

MANCHESTER: DELAYS POSSIBLE FOR INBOUND PASSENGERS

BIRMINGHAM: DELAYS POSSIBLE FOR INBOUND PASSENGERS

NEWCASTLE: ‘MINIMAL DISRUPTION’ IS EXPECTED

SCOTTISH AIRPORTS: DELAYS POSSIBLE FOR INBOUND PASSENGERS AT EDINBURGH AND GLASGOW. NO MAJOR DISRUPTION EXPECTED AT ABERDEEN

LIVERPOOL: DELAYS POSSIBLE FOR INBOUND PASSENGERS

SOUTHAMPTON: THE SOUTH COAST AIRPORT SAID IT ‘SHOULD NOT BE AFFECTED BY TODAY’S STRIKE’

(Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)