Qantas and SITA trial facial biometrics for check-in, passport and boarding pass replacement

Qantas has partnered with SITA and Brisbane Airport to trial facial recognition technology for both self check-in and replacing passport and boarding pass screenings, Travel Weekly reports.

The trial began in November, and will run until early December, with the airline prioritizing future biometric trials and investments based on passenger feedback.

“Customers have told us that they want to move seamlessly through the airport without having to present travel documents at every stage of their airport experience,” Qantas Head of Product Strategy and Development, Phil Capps said. “What’s unique about this technology is it allows customers to securely store their passport details on their mobile phone which is matched to their face via cameras while moving through the airport.”

The opt-in technology is available for select flights from Brisbane to Singapore, Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, and Hong Kong. Passengers can download the Qantas Facial Recognition App to an Android device, register on it, and upload their passport details. Passengers without bags will be able to bypass check-in desks and kiosks and proceed directly to immigration.

Capps also said that while digital recognition has advantages, it is not a replacement for the airlines’ customer service personnel, who will always be on hand to assist passengers.

SITA’s 2018 Air Transport IT Insights report shows that roughly three-quarters of airlines and airports are currently investing in biometrics to provide enhanced security and smoother passenger journeys. Emirates airline announced a trial of its new “biometrics path” at Dubai International Airport, as one among a number of recent deployments.

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