E-passport gates at UK airports will open to a further 500 million business and leisure travellers by summer 2019.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the extension during the budget on Monday (October 29), designed to combat border queues.
Passengers arriving from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan will by next summer be able to use Britain’s e-passport gates.
Hammond said the move would “significantly improve the flow of passengers at busy airports such as Heathrow”.
Earlier this year, it was reported some passengers were facing 2.5-hour passport queues at Heathrow. Hundreds of HMRC staff were also reportedly drafted in to cut wait times.
The announcement has been welcomed by Airlines UK, the trade body for UK registered airlines.
Chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “As passenger numbers continue to rise, UK Border Force must be adequately resourced and adopt new approaches in order to prevent a repeat of last summer, where lengthy border queues were experienced at a number of UK airports.
“This announcement is a welcome step in the right direction, enabling millions more travellers to be processed more quickly. It’s important now to ensure government rapidly implements the required technical changes so passengers can take advantage as quickly as possible.”