NEC to provide curb-to-gate facial biometrics for Star Alliance frequent flyers

Airline group Star Alliance and NEC have partnered to develop an identification platform based on biometric facial recognition to improve air travel experiences for frequent flyers.

The planned interoperable platform will advance the partners’ strategic vision for seamless customer journeys, and strengthen airlines’ loyalty value propositions, according to the announcement. It is also intended to increase the operational efficiency of airports and Star Alliance airlines.

Star Alliance customers will be able to opt-in to biometrics use for seamless and hands-free experiences at touchpoints from curb to gate, including check-in kiosks, bag-drop, lounges, and boarding gates, using facial biometrics. Personal data, including photo images and other identification details, are encrypted for safe storage, and the system has been designed to comply with applicable data protection laws, with personal data only processed with passenger consent.

“In NEC, we have found a strong partner who shares our vision of a seamless travel experience for air travelers,” Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh says. “At Star Alliance we are committed to making the customer journey better, and this strategic partnership with NEC will help us make the way from curb to gate to aircraft a much simpler, yet innovative experience for our customers.”

“Facial recognition is truly revolutionizing the airline industry and making flying more enjoyable, just as it was always intended,” comments NEC Corporation President and CEO Takashi Niino. “In support of this partnership, similar to our implementations in United States, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, NEC will mobilize its global resources and provide local assistance to each of the member airlines to leverage this secure, interoperable platform and rapidly bring our common vision to reality.”

Star Alliance and NEC intend to launch the first biometric solution at an airport hub in Q1 2020.

NEC received an order earlier this month to provide its facial recognition technology for six more airports in Japan.

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