Biometrics to drive airports security market growth as China invests and new deployments announced

Biometrics to drive airports security market growth as China invests and new deployments announced

Biometric systems are expected to lead the market for airport security systems in growth over the next five years, as the market increases at an 8 percent CAGR through 2024, according to a new report available on ResearchAndMarkets.com.

“Airport Security Systems Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2019 – 2024)” cites the combination of increased passenger volume and significant security threats as drivers for the overall market, but not just in terms of greater efficiency with existing infrastructure. The report also suggests new airport constructions and other infrastructure investments will boost the market.

In addition to countries like the U.S., UK, China, Japan, and Singapore which are currently using the technology, many airports in other countries are now in the testing phase with biometrics, the report notes. Initiatives in those established markets, like the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) roadmap for transforming commercial aviation by 2026 and India’s Digi Yatra are expected to act as major growth drivers over the forecast period.

The formation of partnerships, such as that between United and Clear, is seen as a way for aviation companies to deal with a somewhat fragmented competitive landscape.

Biometric boarding gates in China to double in three years

Airlines and airports in China are turning to artificial intelligence and automation to provide hyper-personalized self-service experiences demanded by passengers, according to the Sita 2019 China IT Insights report. Among the changes that will bring is a leap from biometric self-boarding gates in 27 percent of airports to 66 percent, while more than half of airports plan to offer secure single biometric tokens for all touchpoints by 2022.

Sita says 60 percent of airlines in China are planning to use biometrics to drive a secure and seamless passenger experience throughout the airport within three years. The report also indicates that 88 percent of airports and airlines in the country are planning major programs or research and development on AI by 2022.

“The adoption of self-service by passengers across China has been very encouraging for airlines and airports. At SITA, we see many in the industry who are now ready and planning to add biometrics to bring self-service to the next level,” Sita China Vice President and General Manager May Zhou said during an address at the Sita China Air Transport IT Summit in Nanning.

The most common area of investment is mobile services, with all airlines and 93 percent of airports planning investments in services like flight discovery, airline offers, check-in, and flight status notification via mobile by 2022. Mobile services are already offered by 81 percent of airports in China.

Clear launches at Chicago O’Hare with United

Clear biometric lanes have been launched for United Airlines passengers at Chicago O’Hare International Airport to move holiday travellers more quickly and easily through the airport.

One lane is operated at Terminal 1 for PreCheck-eligible members, and another for everyone else, and lanes are expected to open in Terminal 2 in the coming weeks.

“CLEAR and United see significant opportunity to make travel safer, easier and more predictable for our members, and we’re committed to delivering innovation that eliminates friction from curb-to-gate and beyond,” says Caryn Seidman Becker, CLEAR’s Chairman and CEO. “We’re excited to make CLEAR available at all United Hub locations nationwide and thrilled to have created more than 230 new jobs, including nearly 50 here in Chicago, to support our recent expansion and enhance the travel experience for all.”
Members of United’s MileagePlus are eligible for free or discounted Clear memberships.

Clear biometric services are now available at more than 30 airports and more than 60 locations across the United States. Houston and Newark airport deployments in partnership with United were recently announced.

“This Thanksgiving travel season, United will operate 58,000 flights systemwide, including over 700 flights from Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Sunday, December 1, our busiest travel day,” said Mike Hanna, Vice President of Operations at O’Hare for United. “Now having CLEAR open at all our hubs and at many of the other major airports where we fly, our customers have a more consistent experience, and seamless option to proceed through security during the peak travel season and beyond.”

United CEO Oscar Munoz declined to directly address why the airline decided not to renew its partnership with Clear at Houston, before the recent decision to reopen the biometric lanes, in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

“We think what Clear is doing at airports works very nicely for a group of our customers, which is why we partnered with them and with some of our frequent flyer levels to provide a discounted or free service around the system,” Munoz says.

As an investor, Munoz says he is hearing a lot of excitement about biometrics in health care.

Heathrow testing facial recognition

A series of tests on biometric cameras and facial recognition technology will be conducted in the departures area of Heathrow Airport until the end of calendar 2019, according to an announcement on the airport’s website.

The tests are voluntary, and Heathrow asks travellers who do not wish to participate to inform its representatives. The tests will be conducted in different locations at different times, and staff will be on hand to answer questions, according to the announcement. Some of the tests will assess systems intended to make travel faster and more efficient with automation, while others are intended to deliver security benefits.

The UK Border Force already uses biometrics for immigration checks, but the airport notes that the systems being tested are not linked with any existing systems, and all test data is deleted within 30 days. The announcement also invites those with questions to email the airport.

Easier biometric gates to be deployed at LAX

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has chosen Easier, a new entity which is a joint initiative of IER and Automatic Systems Passenger Solutions, to provide automated biometric boarding gate equipment, implementation, and maintenance services.

The three-year contract will see Easier gates implemented as part of Los Angeles International Airport’s modernization plan.

“EASIER was chosen because its team has over 40 years of experience developing biometric solutions,” comments LAWA Deputy Executive Director Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Aura Moore. “The company has established long term working relationships with airlines and decades of experience certifying boarding gate equipment with airline systems and common use systems.”

The new Easier i720 SkyLanes boarding gates feature facial recognition, with integrated facial capture technology from Idemia, and will be used to verify the identity of people boarding outbound international flights, in support of Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) Biometric Exit mandate. Up to 128 of the e-gates will be deployed to the new Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC terminal) and the existing Tom Bradley International Terminal.

“We are delighted to be awarded this three-year contract with this iconic airport, the United States’ largest O&D airport and one the world’s most innovative,” says Ludovic Libeski, CEO, Easier. “We are committed to working as a partner to LAWA, U.S. CBP and all the more than 50 airlines in making this the largest such deployment in the United States.”

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