Finnair pilots facial recognition at Helsinki Airport

May 4, 2017 - 

Finnish airport operator, Finavia, and Finnair are testing facial recognition at Helsinki Airport this month to gather information on the applicability of the technology to the airport environment, the systems and processes used by the airline and the impact it has on the customer experience.

The airline has invited a group of 1,000 frequent flyers to take part in the pilot project.

According to Sari Nevanlinna, head of Ground Experience and Ancillary at Finnair, “Face recognition technology could offer possibilities for smoothening the departure process from the customer’s point of view, and eliminate the need for a boarding pass.”

Customers participating will use a test application to enroll their face photos to the system and use a designated desk with facial recognition technology installed to check in to their flights. A customer service agent will then check the customer’s travel information and indicate in the test system if the face recognition was successful.

“We want to make air travel flow even smoother and be involved in further developing the customer experience,” commented Heikki Koski, vice president of Helsinki Airport for Finavia. “Facial recognition is part of the larger megatrend of biometric recognition, and it will enable ‘Hands in the pockets’ travelling, where you no longer need any travel documents. When all travel-related information is digitized, it takes less time and is easier to get through the checkpoints at the airport. Last year, we tested facial recognition technology at the employee security control and the results were very encouraging.”

The system used in the test is provided by Futurice, and built using widely available hardware and software as well as cloud-based services.

“We use face feature based face recognition technology, which turns facial images into untraceable biometrics IDs,” explains Tuğberk Duman, project manager at Futurice. “This enables us to identify registered passengers on the go without having to store images. This test will provide useful information on the use of this solution for environments with large customer flows and tight security needs.”

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.