British Airways (BA) has started testing self-service biometric boarding gates on international flights departing the US from Los Angeles Airport (LAX).

The airline noted that the new system is intended to improve customers’ airport experience by enhancing the boarding process and considerably reducing the time taken to board an aircraft.

Developed by Vision-Box, the new technology eliminates the need for passengers to show their passport or boarding pass at the gate.

Passengers will still need to show their documents at check-in and security.

Travellers will have to look into a camera at the biometric gates and have their biometric data verified before boarding the aircraft.

“The biometric gates are fitted with a camera that captures facial features of travellers and matches them with the digital facial scan taken as part of the immigration process.”

Los Angeles World Airports chief innovation and technology officer Justin Erbacci said: “This industry-first deployment of innovative solutions from the US Customs and Border Protection and Vision-Box, shows the amazing potential of using biometrics to speed up the boarding process while maintaining safety and security.

“We have been very impressed with the results thus far, and love to see the passengers’ excitement at being some of the first in the world to use facial recognition to board British Airways flights from LAX to Heathrow.”

The biometric gates are fitted with a camera that captures facial features of travellers and matches them with the digital facial scan taken as part of the immigration process. Gates have been installed on three stands at LAX.

The airline has been working with the Customs and Border Protection Agency and the US Government to develop and approve the scheme.

Led by LAX, the project builds on technology already in-use by BA on its domestic flights from Heathrow’s Terminal 5.