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Airlines and airports investing in biometrics to meet growing identity check demand


With the number of air travel passengers expected to reach 7.6 billion by 2036, biometrics are emerging as the top solution for automating identity checks, according to a new report published by SITA.

The report “Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution” indicates that 63 percent of airports and 43 percent of airlines globally will invest in biometric ID management solutions in the next three years.

“With passenger numbers set to double by 2036, airlines and airports need to be able to move passengers through these checks as securely and quickly as possible,” says Sean Farrell, Director, Strategy & Innovation, SITA. “Efficient identity management is essential for better security while at the same time improving the passenger experience. Biometrics is the technology that can deliver this.”

The report also shows that public acceptance of biometrics, which includes an estimated 75 percent of smartphones including fingerprint sensors by 2020, also applies to air travel, with the majority of passengers saying they would definitely use biometrics for their next flight.

“Passengers are ready and want to use biometrics,” Farrell adds. “The easiest way for airlines and airports to make this happen is to use technology that integrates easily with their existing infrastructure – kiosks, bag drop, automated boarding gates. Moving to single token identity management where passengers can simply use their biometric, such as their face, at every checkpoint on their journey will speed passengers securely through the airport.”

SITA, which is currently at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2018 in Stockholm, recently launched a trial of a facial recognition boarding system with British Airways at Orlando International Airport.

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