Heathrow Terminal 5: Architectural Disaster

July 22nd, 2007

Heathrow to check fingerprints

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 21/07/2007

Terminal 5 passengers will have fingers and faces scanned, says Jeremy Skidmore.

Fingerprinting of passengers, a process that has irritated many visitors to the United States, will soon be happening on some domestic flights within Britain.

Domestic passengers departing from Heathrow’s Terminal 5, which opens in March, will have to give a fingerprint and have their faces scanned as part of a security check before take-off. The checks are being brought in because both domestic and international passengers will share a common departure lounge and there are fears that those arriving on international flights may be able to bypass immigration control by booking an onward domestic flight to a regional airport.

This is total insanity.

Firstly, whenever someone gets off a plane, they go straight from the plane to immigration, where they are checked. They should then go to a waiting room that does not physically connect with domestic flight passengers.

The architects that designed Terminal 5 (Richard Rogers Partnership) should be sued for extreme negligence; can you name me a single airport where domestic and international passengers are allowed to freely mingle in a unified departure lounge?

This is one of the biggest design blunders ever in the history of airport design, and now, passengers flying on domestic flights are going to have to submit to fingerprinting just to travel in their own country.

International passengers departing through Terminal 5 will be subject to the normal checks and controls but will not undergo face scans or have to provide a fingerprint. At Gatwick, which also has a shared departure lounge for all passengers, domestic travellers already have their photographs taken.

Did you know this?

A spokeswoman for Terminal 5 said the new fingerprinting systems were a way of taking security to the next level. “At the moment there are no plans for any other passengers to be fingerprinted, but it is the way of the future. We work closely with the Home Office on security issues,” she said.

This is just total bullshit. USVISIT has been a total failure, costing billions only to catch a few people (1500 out of tens of millions of people violated) who have outstanding parking tickets.

From this autumn, those arriving at 10 US airports, including New York JFK, Chicago, Miami and Boston, will have to give fingerprints of all 10 fingers, raising fears of increased delays.

Note how the delays is the only thing concerning this writer.

Bob Mocny, the acting director of the US-Visit Programme, which runs immigration security, said the new technology would improve safety

That is a lie, and it is demonstrated by the figures.

and, eventually, be a fast system. He said the same system would be introduced across Europe in the future.

And from what crystal ball did he glean this information?

However, the Home Office said this week that it has no plans to insist on fingerprints for incoming passengers.

They will not be able to justify it using the USVISIT numbers – they just don’t add up.

“We take fingerprints across 80 different countries from people when they apply for visas and have stopped 4,000 people from coming in,” said a spokeswoman.

That is a totally different scenario. It has nothing to do with fingerprinting EVERYBODY whenever they want to travel.

Recent improvements in security at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted include the introduction of flat scanners that can read the new biometric indicators in e-passports.

That is not an improvement in security, it is more Security Theatre.

Extra checks on passengers have been introduced following the recent attempted terrorist attacks at airports, leading to fears of increased delays for passengers this summer.

And none of them will be of any use. All of them are Security Theatre.



I have to say, that this is close to the most absurd and insane thing I have ever read. A firm of architects opts to create a single departure lounge with international and domestic passengers unsegregated, and as a result, to fix the problem, people flying inside their own country have to be fingerprinted like criminals.

This is absolute, complete, cant-make-shit-like-this-up INSANITY.

Architecture should serve the people who have to live work and go through it. By failing to segregate domestic and international passengers, not only has Richard Rogers Partnership failed to consider the dignity of passengers who are going to go through Heathrow Terminal 5, but they have failed to understand the brief.

Security at an airport, at a minimum means ensuring that immigration rules are followed. It means carefully considering the flow of passengers and their status. By failing to implement passenger flow correctly by creating a shared departure lounge, Richard Rogers Partnership has created a building that will not only fail to serve the people who use and pass through it, but which will violate and humiliate millions of people. It will serve as yet another way to soften up the people to the idea of regular fingerprinting for even the most simple of things.

This is one of the greatest architectural disasters ever.

11 Responses to “Heathrow Terminal 5: Architectural Disaster”

  1. Alun Says:

    I would shift the blame from RRP to BAA and BA themselves… at first glance at least! RRP are blatant egotists ready to railroad through to construction the design which best promotes RRP and brings them most acclaim/gosssip/jealousy from their architectural peers. But… !

    BAA and BA are those ultimately responsible for Terminal 5. They will have seen the plans for the building and MUST have approved the design, understanding full well the consequences of the mixed departure lounge. I would imagine that, for a building as sensitive as a major airport terminal, HMG also had a gander before granting final planning approval. I doubt very much that all three bodies managed to miss the design ‘fault’.

    Therefore, it is only logical to conclude that the resulting procedural impositions on domestic and international travellers are a design FEATURE and not a fault! Of the three involved organisations judging the design, British Airways, British Airport Authority, or HMG, which body do you think has most to gain from the design ‘fault’? I think the quote “We work closely with the Home Office on security issues” (said Terminal 5 spokesman) gives us a bit of a clue.

    RRP don’t deliberately incorporate faults, they follow briefs. I smell a set-up. HMG has had a processing centre for the NIR built under the guise of a shiny new terminal. Now, THAT is ‘cant-make-shit-like-this-up INSANITY.’

  2. meaumeau Says:

    Highly sensitive information about the religious beliefs, political opinions and even the sex life of Londoners travelling to Glasgow is to be made available to SOCA when the European Commission agrees to a new system of checking passengers.


  3. Alun Says:

    Of course, there is one sure way to avoid T5… DON’T FLY BRITISH AIRWAYS.

    Boycott’s work. I’ve noticed a recent flurry of articles on- and offline ‘encouraging’ people to take advantage of the strength of the pound and holiday in the US of A. Why? Because tourism to the US has gone down by 25% since 2001 and the introduction of enhanced ‘security features’.

    I could expound. But, because BLOGDIAL has noted the benefits of this financial weapon many times before, you already know this!

  4. irdial Says:

    I got emailed that article, and slapped it out.

    Air France is a far more civilized airline in every way. BA is now to be avoided at all times and in all places. CDG is an airport experience to marvel at – so calm and non intimidating…the French know how to do everything right these days.

    A very attractive place, to be sure.

  5. BLOGDIAL » Blog Archive » Push is coming to shove Says:

    […] What is most interesting about this is how people are going to react to the abominable temple to soft Fascism, Heathrow Terminal 5. […]

  6. BLOGDIAL » Blog Archive » More BBQ Biometric Propaganda: Terminal 5 Says:

    […] This building has been built with Security Theatre in mind…but you know this, because we have written about the abomination that is Terminal 5 before. […]

  7. BLOGDIAL » Blog Archive » Terminal 5 fingerprinting; the howls begin Says:

    […] we have written about this before in detail. BAA, the company which owns Heathrow, insists the biometric […]

  8. BLOGDIAL » Blog Archive » BBC terrorist journalist strikes again: Heathrow Terminal 5 Says:

    […] here are the other posts on this subject we have written, and thanks to the lurker who emailed […]

  9. BLOGDIAL » Blog Archive » Privacy International complaint poised to shut down Heathrow passenger fingerprinting Says:

    […] http://irdial.com/blogdial/?p=771 http://irdial.com/blogdial/?p=767 http://irdial.com/blogdial/?p=825 […]

  10. BLOGDIAL » Blog Archive » Welcome to fascist Britain: All UK travelers to be fingerprinted! Says:

    […] of Richard Rogers, BAA, BBC, Fascist new Labour and millions of […]

  11. Britain’s Police State: London arrests based on CCTV identification. Britain adopts Chinese model of policing protest? : Infowars Ireland Says:

    […] international passengers would be carefully segregated, for security, but at Terminal 5 they are allowed to mix in one departure lounge, controlled by ubiquitous surveillance. Effectively, passengers are tracked […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.