City Airport to run ID cards trial

By Danny Brierley |

LONDON City Airport has agreed to a trial of the Government’s identity card scheme, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was due to announce today.

Workers at the site in Newham and at Manchester Airport will be the first to be issued with biometric cards, which will contain fingerprint information.

The airports will roll out the cards during an 18-month evaluation period.

A Home Office spokesman denied the trial was a scaling back of plans unveiled this year for up to 200,000 airport workers to carry the cards from the middle of next year.

The Government will waive a £30 fee for the cards in a concession to the airline industry and unions, who objected to being the guinea pig for the scheme.

Ms Smith is also set to reveal the latest cost for the scheme, estimated at £4.7billion over 10 years.

The British Air Transport Association said plans for airport staff to be the first British nationals to carry the cards were “half-baked”. Its secretary general Roger Wiltshire said airport workers were already subject to rigorous security checks.

Foreign nationals from outside the EU will become the first to be issued with the cards from 25 November.