Flying in the UK and Ireland

When travelling to UK destinations you are required to have your photograph taken for security identification purposes.

The photo identification process uses iris recognition technology and here we explain what iris recognition is and how it's used at Gatwick. 

Iris recognition is an automated method of biometric identification that uses images of the irises of an individual's eyes, whose complex random patterns are unique and can be seen from some distance. It is completely safe for everyone, including if you wear glasses, contact lenses and for children. 

At Gatwick Airport we use this system to provide irrefutable evidence that passengers attempting to board a domestic or *Common Travel Area flights are the same individuals who entered the international departure lounge.

Common Travel Area (CTA) countries are the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. 

On the use of iris recognition at the airport we are acting under a published order of the Home Office (Written Notice – Designating the Immigration Control Area Specifying Conditions and Restrictions to be Observed in a Control Area – Immigration Act 1971 Schedule 2 Paragraph 26(3)), the “Written Notice”. 

Iris recognition at Gatwick Airport is therefore not an optional system but further to our obligations pursuant to the Written Notice we operate a “no fly” policy for any passengers who do not go through the iris recognition system in the designated areas. 

The following data is captured through iris: 

  • Boarding pass details (which includes the passenger name)
  • Passenger photo (taken as identification backup)
  • Iris algorithm results (taken as the primary identification)

Gatwick Airport is concerned with the rights of privacy of all of our customers. We have consulted with the Information Commissioner in relation to use of Iris detection at the airport and will use all efforts to ensure that your rights as a valued customer are protected.