Travel industry group pitches biometrics to relieve airport chokepoint stress as deployments discussed

Travel industry group pitches biometrics to relieve airport chokepoint stress as deployments discussed

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow says the organization is focused on expanding biometrics use to enhance security while simplifying travel, The Hill reports.

“We envision biometrics relieving stress at three critical travel chokepoints: TSA screening at airports, Customs and Border Protection entry and exit, and enhancing the Department of Homeland Security’s trusted traveler programs,” Dow said, referring to the TSA.

He also acknowledged that “we cannot win public support until we have clear, verifiable protections for privacy, accuracy and performance for these technologies. And so, U.S. Travel will lead the effort to create clear, pro-traveler rules governing biometric identification.”

Dow delivered a “State of the Industry” address this week, and also said that the group will take a lead role in reaching agreements with other countries to open U.S. markets, and lobbying for tax and infrastructure changes.

Indian airport announced Digi Yatra plans

India’s Cochin International Airport Ltd. (Cial) is planning to offer biometric boarding within two years through the government’s Digi Yatra system, The Times of India writes, as part of a plan for paperless passage through all major checkpoints in the airport.

The airport authority is planning to deploy e-gates, as well as e-tickets, and has begun the tender process.

“E-boarding intends to strengthen access control, paperless boarding and reducing human intervention in identity check, is expected to be completed in one and half years. Physical examination of boarding pass and identity cards at multiple checkpoints is the most time consuming process at airports. As Cial’s passenger traffic is increasing, the rush at counters will be high and the system will be a solution to make the process fast,” a Cial official told TOI.

Scanning of mobile phones and passengers faces will allow the airport to crack down on illegal entry through fake tickets, according to the official.

El Dorado exec discusses iris biometric checks

El Dorado International Airport CTO Fabian Ramos discusses the Bogotá, Colombia airport’s use of biometrics and other technologies to increase its capacity and utilize its existing space efficiently in an International Airport Review article.

The third-busiest airport in Latin America, according to the article, El Dorado served 35 million people and 741,000 metric tonnes of cargo in 2019. Columbian citizens can perform emigration procedures with iris biometrics at automated doors, and will soon be able to perform self baggage drops, Ramos writes.

Houston airport implements Biometric Entry

William P. Hobby Airport in Houston is the first in Texas to implement biometric facial verification for all international flights departing and arriving, according to an announcement by the Huston Airport System.

Biometric Exit went live at Hobby International in 2018, though a partnership between CBP, Houston Airports (HAS), and Southwest Airlines.

“Hobby Airport has taken a big leap into the future of travel,” Houston Aviation Director Mario Diaz states. “We could not have reached this technological milestone without the help of our partners — CBP and Southwest Airlines. Simplified Arrivals will enhance the travel experience for the one million international passengers traveling through Hobby Airport every year. This is an important step to realize our goal of becoming a 5-star airport.”

“The speed, accuracy and reliability of facial comparison technology enable CBP officers to confirm a traveler’s identity within seconds while further enhancing the customer experience,” says CBP Houston Director of Field Operations Judson W. Murdock II.

Travelers can opt out of the process as they approach the primary inspection point, and photos taken at the gate of U.S. citizens will be deleted within 12 hours, per CBP policy.

Unisys executive argues for digital transformation

Unisys will be represented at the upcoming Air Cargo India conference in Mumbai by Cargo Industry Director Niranjan Navaratnarajah, who will deliver a presentation on the importance of digital transformation to industry players. The use of mobile biometric applications for access control, and as part of a multi-factor authentication procedure to protect sensitive and valuable cargo is used as an example of how the air cargo industry can improve its physical security through cultural change.

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