Facial recognition to replace passport checkup at Thailand’s most crowded airports

Facial recognition to replace passport checkup at Thailand’s most crowded airports

Thailand’s Transport Ministry wants to roll out its biometric-enabled smart airport initiative across five top airports to improve passenger experience, reduce waiting times, and boost airport security, writes the Bangkok Post. By deploying facial recognition, the Ministry hope to eliminate the process of passport and national ID checks that currently takes up too much time that could be spent on other tasks.

“Currently, travelers may be required to show their ID cards or passports up to three times in one trip through an airport,” said Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam.

“They can have their faces scanned just once at check-in counters and then board a plane without the need to show their ID cards, passports or boarding passes.”

Thaworn further explained he wished all travelers could tag bags at their hotel or use other check-in points to reduce terminal congestion. The system would not only be used by Thai nationals, but all people visiting across Thailand.

The technology will first be deployed at regional airports that experience a high influx of travelers such as Krabi, Surat Thani, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, and Khon Kaen. A number of delegates from the Department of Airports, the Royal Thai Police and the Interior Ministry will together analyze the new system and decide how to support the technology.

In May, Thailand installed 2,000 devices for biometric checks at all border crossings. This summer, Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) awarded a contract for the supply of 15 million biometric e-passports over the next seven years to a consortium including Gemalto.

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