The number of automated ePassport gates at Stansted has been tripled to 15.

The new ePassport gates provide EEA nationals, aged 18 and over who are travelling using a biometric passport, the choice of an automated route to the UK.

The gates use facial recognition technology to provide identity and security checks.

Once these are completed the gate opens automatically to allow cleared passengers through the border.

Border Force officers monitor the system and any travellers rejected by the gates are directed to the normal clearance desk.

The ePassport gates have been jointly funded by the Home Office and Manchester Airport Group, the owners of Stansted.

There are now 109 ePassport gates in use at 18 airports across the UK. Expansion will continue for the next two years, replacing and expanding existing sites and installing at new sites including rail and sea ports.

Immigration and security minister James Brokenshire said: “Keeping the UK’s border secure is our priority. At the same time we want to welcome legitimate visitors and trade which contributes to the UK economy.

“Using the latest technology helps us to do both and is popular with passengers. The ePassport gates here at Stansted airport provide both a fast and convenient way for tourists, business visitors and Britons returning home to pass through the border securely.”

Airport managing director Andrew Harrison said: “We are investing £260 million over the next five years to transform passenger services and facilities at the airport.

“Working in partnership with Border Force we’re delighted to open the initial phase of a new and improved immigration area that includes 15 new generation ePassport gates to help speed travellers safely and securely through the arrival process.”