The arrivals hall at Newcastle airport is being expanded and improved to include five new ePassport gates.

The self-service machines use facial recognition technology to verify the user’s identity against data stored in the chip in their biometric passport.

New ePassport gates will be available to use for all those aged 12 or above holding UK, EEA and Swiss passports.

The extension to the passenger terminal will house 448 sq m of additional floor space for the immigration area, as well as 110 sq m of space at the departure gates.

It is on course to open ahead of the summer peak travel period as part of a multi-million pound investment in collaboration with UK Border Force.

Work on the expansion began last year and is expected to finish this spring, with the new arrivals hall and ePassport gates being completed in June.

Airport operations director, Richard Knight, said: “I’m delighted with how well work is progressing on our improved and expanded arrivals hall and can’t wait to unveil the space, as well as the brand new ePassport gates, to our customers.

“We pride ourselves on our low queue times across the airport and with passenger numbers through the terminal increasing, this expansion will play a big role in ensuring we can help passengers head home following a wonderful trip or experience all that the north-east has to offer as a visitor as speedily as possible.”

Christina Brown, Border Force assistant director for the airport, said: “Increasing the use of digital technology at the border is part of Border Force’s commitment to improve the passenger experience.

“We must protect our borders, but we also want to encourage people who boost our economy through tourism and business to travel to the UK. This means ensuring their arrival in the UK is dealt with as swiftly and efficiently as possible while maintaining the integrity and security of the UK’s border.”