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Hong Kong International Airport expands facial recognition to boarding gates


Hong Kong’s Airport Authority has shared its plans to deploy facial recognition at boarding gates as part of a HK$2 billion (US$250 million) renovation of the international airport’s Terminal 1 to improve passenger convenience and handle higher passenger volumes, EJInsight.com reports.

Four gates will initially be installed supporting facial recognition for use in early 2020, before the biometric system is rolled out to the rest in 2021. Terminal 1 General Manager Chapman Fong Sui-man says the technology’s maturity motivated the Airport Authority to adopt biometric boarding gates. Facial recognition e-Security Gates were launched in September, following IATA’s seamless travel initiative, and their number is gradually increasing. Identity checks at the security gates takes about 20 seconds, according to EJInsight.

The upgrade is intended to make the terminal “smart,” and includes redesigned seats in waiting areas, improvements to washrooms, in addition to biometrics. The terminal was opened in 1998.
The upgrade is in addition to HK$7 billion ($890 million) expansion of the terminal, which includes a bridge to a pedestrian concourse.

Chinese authorities recently deployed facial recognition at border checkpoints between Hong Kong and Shenzhen to catch “parallel traders,” and the new Hong Kong identity card also features higher resolution photos to support facial biometrics.

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