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Hamad International Airport plans full biometric roll-out as traffic increases

Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha, Qatar plans to expand its deployment of biometrics to create a single system to manage the entire customer airport journey, Future Travel Experience (FTE) reports.

More than 25 percent of Qatar Airways passengers at HIA are using biometric self-service check-in and bag-drop kiosks provided by SITA, which were deployed on a trial basis just over a year ago. The airport plans to extend the same services to other airlines.

Passenger traffic in the airport has increased by more than 10 percent, year-over-year, according to its latest quarterly statistics.

“Our main ambition now is to keep up with the growth. After last year’s situation we are growing again, so of course, the challenge is to manage our capacity while expanding,” Hamad International Airport VP Operations Ioannis Metsovitis told FTE.

With close to half of passengers using mobile check-in and self-bag drop processes on some days, he says the program has exceeded expectations.

“We really want to look into biometrics and also mobile technologies,” says Metsovitis. “Technically speaking, biometrics will allow us to do everything – from the moment people check in at home, to the time they check in and board the aircraft, it will all be a single biometric system. In terms of mobile technology, we have these devices from the minute we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, so there is a lot of data potential to implement them in our processes. So, our ambition is to merge these two technologies into one.”

When completed, the system could reduce passenger processing time by 40 percent, FTE reports. HIA has joined IATA’s Smart Security initiative to help develop next-generation security screening checkpoints, and is ramping up its technological investment in preparation for FIFA World Cup 2022, which will be held in Qatar, to increase its capacity to 50 million, from 30 million today.

Airports are expected to spend $1.3 billion on biometrics over the next five years, and IATA research shows that nearly half of air travel passengers would use biometrics instead of a passport.

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