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Aviation panelists urge broader biometrics adoption to relieve passenger capacity crunch


Broader adoption of biometric technologies to reduce passenger processing times is necessary to manage a looming capacity crunch facing airlines in busy markets, a panel of aviation industry leaders told the A4E Aviation Summit, Apex reports.

Inefficient passenger security clearance processes could limit the capacity available in certain markets, panelists said during a discussion on the role of technology in addressing the future needs of European airlines.

“Biometric ID is the solution, we believe, to increase security while making more efficient the experience of the traveller,” said President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, Gloria Guevara Manzo. “By working together, we can come up with a standard so that we can then engage with governments. Because the airlines can be very efficient, and the airports can be very efficient, but let’s be honest, that’s not enough. We need immigration, we need customs, we need everyone in the entire travel chain to use biometrics and be more efficient.”

Finnair President and CEO Pekka Vauramo discussed challenges airlines face as they run biometric trials, like the pilot of using facial recognition to identify frequent travellers Finnair conducted in cooperation with Helsinki airport operator Finavia last year. He also stressed the importance of information sharing, particularly as the incoming GDPR regulation and customer concerns present challenges to broader biometric adoption.

Guevara Manzo compared the adoption process to the move to e-ticketing, and urged industry groups to present the advantages of biometric clearance to governments.

British Airways recently began a trial offering biometric boarding to customers flying from Orlando to London Gatwick, and the faster processing speed demonstrated by a trial of facial recognition for passenger boarding at Boston Logan International Airport has led the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to look for other ways to leverage the technology.

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