Airport biometrics and digital identity deployments expand in US, India

SITA introduces ABC kiosks, Collins Aerospace looks to the future
Airport biometrics and digital identity deployments expand in US, India

Passengers flying American Airlines from Washington or Dallas will soon be able to use digital IDs stored on their mobile devices to reduce contact with airport staff during baggage check processes, Simple Flying reports.

The service has gone live at Dallas Fort Worth Airport, where passengers can check their bags without presenting any physical identity credential.

The trial involves passengers downloading a third-party app, which will display the information the individual must show to an agent. Bag tags can be printed from airport machines using the American Airlines app. iPhones running updated software can also scan a QR code to print the tags without downloading the airline’s app.

The same service is expected to launch at Regan Washington National Airport (DCA) on October 27, and the airline is reported to be working with the TSA on a possible broader implementation.

SITA introduces new kiosks to meet EES biometrics requirements

SITA has developed a new version of its Automated Border Control (ABS) Kiosks to accommodate new devices for biometrics capturing and other future upgrades or requirements related to the implementation of the new European Union Schengen Zone border controls planned for 2022.

The new TS6 kiosk provides biometric data with SITA’s next-generation solution to expedite processing, reduce congestion and improve passenger glow while providing governments and border agencies with high-quality data, according to the announcement. Travellers arriving at the Schengen Zone can confirm their registration in the Central EES system from the kiosk, update their travel record and confirm their biometric data.

The biometric data then enables a seamless passage through the ABC gate with facial recognition.

“The introduction of EES will bring significant benefits but also presents operational challenges for EU member states to achieve smooth and effective border processes,” says SITA Vice-President Border Management Jeremy Springall. “Maximizing the value delivered by the introduction of EES requires an approach that goes beyond the initial acquisition of gates, kiosks, and biometric devices. Member states now have a unique opportunity to positively transform their border operations through the intelligent integration of new and existing border management systems.”

The solution saves roughly five seconds from the process for each traveller, and SITA suggests it can help to combat the spread of COVID-19 and increase traveller confidence.

SITA says it can also effectively meet the EU’s standards for biometric data quality while supporting the specific requirements of governments. The company has used its experience to fine-tune its face capture process and biometric matching algorithms.

Collins considers alternative biometric modalities

Biometrics and touchless travel processes are joined by antimicrobial surface coatings and rapid COVID testing among the measures Collins Aerospace is working on to make airports safe and comfortable for passengers, Simple Flying writes in a separate article.

Collins Aerospace Vice President and General Manager of IMS LeAnn Ridgeway tells Simple Flying that touchless journeys powered by facial recognition are close to being realized, and more biometrics adoption is coming.

“I’m really excited about what can be done with biometrics,” Ridgeway says. “It creates operational efficiencies. It had a strong business case that stood on its own pre-COVID, but now it has the potential to do so much more.”

The aviation technology company is looking into the potential of other biometric modalities like respiratory or heart rate, according to Ridgeway.

As she points out, concerns about the spread of infectious disease have come before, prompted by emergencies like SARS and MEARS, and unfortunately, they likely will again.

TSA credential reader reaches Atlantic City

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has launched its credential authentication technology (CAT) at Atlantic City International Airport to confirm the validity of travellers’ identity documents and confirm their flight information in near real-time.

Each CAT unit consists of an ID card reader, a Federal personal identity verification ID card reader, a monitor, a stand and a UV light, and the units can authenticate thousands of types of IDs.

Passengers are expected to hand their ID document to the TSA officer running the CAT, but not a boarding pass in most cases, which eliminates a touchpoint.

Digi Yatra facial recognition launches at Varanasi

Meanwhile in India, the Digi Yatra facial recognition passenger-screening program is coming to airlines Vistara and IndiGo at Varanasi Airport, according to CNBC affiliate TV18.

The Airports Authority of India project is expected to launch at the airport in December, though SpiceJet has not yet agreed to join the program, according to the report.

Digi Yatra provides automated kiosks at the kerb, airport entry gate, check-in counters, security checkpoints and boarding gate, and replaces all physical document exchanges.

Passengers of Vistara and IndiGo are also expected to be able to perform airport processes through Digi Yatra at Kolkata, Pune and Vijayawada airports starting in March, 2021. As of May, passengers on IndiGo, Vistara, GoAir, Air India, Alliance Air, AirAsia India, Air India Express and Trujet are all expected to be able to use Digi Yatra for biometric airport processes at the four above airports. Site surveys have already been completed at all four, TV18 reports.

NEC supplies the facial recognition technology for Varanasi, Kolkata, Pune and Vijayawada airports.

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