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Airports to trial ID card

Two UK airports have agreed to trial the government’s controversial ID card scheme next year in a dry run of what could become a compulsory national ID card.

Manchester and London City airports will undertake an 18-month trial of the cards for staff from next November, in what represents a considerable climbdown by ministers in the face of industry opposition. The government had planned to introduce ID cards for staff at every airport next spring after encountering continuing opposition to the cards among the wider public.

Airlines and airports represented by the British Air Transport Association insist they see only additional costs and no security benefits from the ID scheme and unions oppose their members having to pay for the cards.

However, Manchester Airport Group chief executive Geoff Muirhead said: “We want to see if there is real value in this, but things might change.” Conservative leaders have said they will abandon the ID scheme.

BATA secretary general Roger Wiltshire said: “Ministers are realising this is a difficult project.”

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