Airports: Gatwick and Heathrow

House of Lords written question – answered at on 11 March 2013.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird UUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether passport or identity checks are made at Heathrow and Gatwick airports when passengers with tickets and boarding passes go through security; and, if not, why not.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Lords Spokesperson (Department for Transport), Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

The Department for Transport sets the screening requirements and the standards that must be applied to ensure that those entering airside areas of airports are not carrying or concealing a prohibited article.

There is no current government requirement for passport or identity checks to be made when passengers go through airport security. To enter the airside of an airport, passengers must prove their intention to fly on a service from the UK. There is a variety of methods to achieve this and boarding cards are among those acceptable. Indeed airport operators have the legal right to refuse a passenger entry if, in their opinion, the presented documentation is invalid or inappropriate.

A passenger's identity does not determine or have an impact on the screening process that they undergo at security. Rather, the focus is on the screening of all passengers and everything they carry into the critical part of the airport to ensure that no prohibited articles are introduced, regardless of who they are. However, airlines will check passenger identity at other stages in the airport process, for example, at check-in.

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