Travellers should avoid using Heathrow until the airport abandons its plans for the mass fingerprinting of passengers. That is the advice from the NO2ID Expats’ group. “Other hubs, whether in the UK or in other EU countries, should be preferred for the time being,” the group says in a press release. Heathrow wants to fingerprint and photograph both domestic passengers and international travellers with onward connections to other British or Irish airports. But on 26 March, following a warning from the Information Commissioner’s Office that the measure may be illegal, the fingerprinting was suspended.
The photographing or “biometric capture” of passengers is going ahead. Those who refuse will be denied access to their flights. On its website, BAA states that the measure is “required by the Department for Transport”. But when a NO2ID expat member asked the DfT about this, the reply was: “This is a border and immigration issue [Border & Immigration Agency] and may I suggest you contact them with your query”. He did so. In response, the BIA sent him, presumably by mistake, an e-mail chain revealing interdepartmental chaos. It includes the following view from HM Inspector, BIA: “This is certainly not a BIA issue”. The biometric checks are, the inspector argues, “for domestic flights which is most certainly a DfT and/or BAA issue around how they have set up Terminal 5”. The enquirer turned to BAA. To date, no reply has been received.
For more details visit the NO2ID Expats website at http://no2id-expats.chown.ch