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Biometrics play major role in WTTC travel industry recovery report, facial recognition for SFO arrivals

Biometrics play major role in WTTC travel industry recovery report, facial recognition for SFO arrivals

Biometrics implementations in the aviation industry are well underway, but will be built up and aggregated to facilitate more touchless process, according to a new report from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Nearly half of all travelers (45 percent) would trade use of their physical passports for digital identity backed by biometrics, the report says, citing two-year old IATA research.

The 26-page report ‘To Recovery & Beyond: The Future of Travel and Tourism in the Wake of COVID-19’ was produced in collaboration with Oliver Wyman, and explores the intertwined trends of demand evolution, health and hygiene, innovation and digitization, and sustainability.

Biometrics play a significant part in the innovation and digitization aspect, the report says, as part of the means of carrying out contactless processes. The report notes biometrics-based innovations by PopID and Clear as examples of recently-developed capabilities for contactless processes.

“The sector will build on and aggregate existing solutions from biometric verifications and e-gates at airports to contactless payments to enhance the traveller journey and address new concerns around capturing health data and contact tracing,” the report authors write. “These concepts are not new, with WTTC proactively engaging in this space through its ambitious Safe & Seamless Traveller Journey initiative, which brings together the public and private sectors, alongside technology providers, and builds on the work of  organisations  including IATA, ICAO, ACI, CLIA, WEF and IBMATA, and to agree on models that are globally interoperable, technology agnostic and provide end-to-end journey coverage.”

Vision-Box executive sees similar trends

Vision-Box CEO Miguel Leitmann writes for Aviation Pros, echoing the importance of contactless technology and biometrics to revive the industry in the U.S. and around the world.

Noting reports that the international tourism industry lost $320 billion in revenues during five months this year, Leitmann compares the enhancement of airport infrastructure to that which occurred after 9/11. Three quarters of travellers have stated a preference for destinations with contactless experiences.

Vision-Box’s own research indicates 63 percent of aviation sector organizations plan to implement biometrics as part of contactless travel experiences.

The evidence shows a preference for seamless traveler identification systems, Leitmann argues.

SFO arrivals screened with biometric facial comparison technology

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP’s) facial biometric “Simplified Arrivals” program has gone live at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to reduce wait times at CBP inspection points by matching arriving international travelers against their travel documents.

“We are proud to be the latest US airport to launch Simplified Arrivals,” comments Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “SFO is committed to a safe and healthy travel experience, and Simplified Arrivals creates a more touch-free arrival for our international travelers, while also making the process faster and easier. We appreciate the partnership with US Customs & Border Protection to make this a reality.”

SFO is the eleventh airport to deploy CBP’s facial recognition for arrivals under the Biometric Entry/Exit program.

CBP has now captured close to 300 imposters over the course of more than 52 million travellers processed with its biometric facial comparison technology, according to the announcement.

International air travel has resumed at three airports in South Africa, meanwhile, with biometrics deployed for contactless screening and process automation, Modern Ghana writes.

OR Tambo International Airport, King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airport have resumed accepting international flights as part of the country’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

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