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Star Alliance selects NEC biometrics as airport ID verification integrations advance

TSA document checkers, Amadeus deployment, Birdi certified for Lenel platform
Star Alliance selects NEC biometrics as airport ID verification integrations advance

Star Alliance has completed the development of a platform for interoperable biometric identification to improve the travel experience of its frequent flyer program customers.

The new Star Alliance Biometrics platform is based on NEC’s I:Delight biometrics and identity management software,

Lufthansa and Swiss will begin using the platform for select flights in November, making them the first to implement it, through infrastructure being installed at hub airports in Frankfurt and Munich. Members of the Lufthansa and Swiss Miles and More program can opt-in for biometric checks to pass through security checks and boarding gates with touchless processes at no extra cost.

Enrollment is performed in a few easy steps on the customer’s mobile device, according to the announcement, with the enrolled biometrics then available for use at multiple touchpoints at participating airlines when travelling on Star Alliance member airlines that have implemented the service.

Biometric data is encrypted and stored within a system designed for compliance to applicable data protection laws, and is stored with a minimum of other personally identifiable data, including no customer names.

“We are exceedingly proud to have founding member Lufthansa as the first airline to implement the Star Alliance Biometrics solution in both of its Frankfurt and Munich Airport hubs,” states Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh. “This is a customer-centric solution that furthers our credentials in innovation, particularly its multi-airline and multi-airport capability. Whilst it offers a seamless customer travel experience, it is also a critical development that addresses the expectation of customers for a more touchless and hygienically safer experience. Star Alliance Biometrics is a key part of our strategy to be the most digitally advanced global airline alliance.”

Lufthansa Senior Director of Product Management for Ground and Digital Services Bjoern Becker tells Simple Flying in an interview that the airline is extending the biometric boarding processes it has rolled out across the United States to airports in Germany.

Lufthansa’s efforts to restore public confidence in air travel also include free antibody testing for passengers flying between Munich and Hamburg. Facial recognition implementation by the company was already underway before the pandemic, but took on new urgency, according to the article.

Restore trust with digital ID: Accenture blog

The biometrics-backed digital ID provided by Accenture’s World Travel ID could help restore the trust of travelers in the safety of flying, the company’s Senior Manager for Consulting and Public Service for Australia and New Zealand Gerco Landman writes in a company blog post.

Noting that the UN World Tourism Organization estimates 120 million jobs in the sector could be at risk, and economic damage could exceed $1 trillion, Landman argues that bringing trust to the vaccination and testing status of others is critical. International travel already requires the highest level of assurance for identity, he points out, and digital ID that meets border requirements can be used to meet needs for a range of applications from banking to communications.

New seamless travel platform coming after AE Industrial Partners acquisitions

AE Industrial Partners has acquired Linkware and Pangiam with the intention of combining them to build an integrated travel solutions platform for seamless and secure travel experiences.

Linkware is a federal government custom software solutions and consulting provider, and Pangiam is a security and travel consulting services provider. The combined entity will operate commercially as Pangiam, and offer digital services to government customers as Linkware.

Kevin McAleenan, recently the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security and Commissioner of CBP, will lead Pangiam as CEO, while Patrick Flanagan, who recently served as Acting Chief of Staff at DHS and CBP, takes the COO role.

“Linkware has been a critical resource to its customers in supporting mission imperative projects with strong recurring performance and a highly technical staff,” says AEI Partner Kirk Konert in the announcement. “Now, as part of a broader technology platform in Pangiam, Linkware will have the demonstrated innovation to address the growing demand for seamless travel and security solutions.”

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

New ID document and biometric technologies deployed at US airports

The TSA’s Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) devices have been deployed to Burlington International Airport in Vermont to confirm the validity of travelers’ identification and confirm their flight information in real time.

Two units are in use at Burlington International, and the TSA plans to deploy 27 more to major airports in New England by December, in addition to 25 CAT units at Boston-Logan International, and 5 at Bradley International in Hartford.

The devices, supplied by Idemia, have also Long Island MacArthur Airport, Dayton International Airport, Syracuse Hancock International Airport and Greater Rochester International Airport.

Meanwhile, the facial recognition system as Frederick Douglass-Greater Rochester International, announced in 2018 and carrying a $1 million price-tag, is yet to reach operation, NBC affiliate WHEC reports.

Airport Director Andy Moore told the outlet that it took time to work out bugs in the software and hardware used by the biometric system, and now official policies and procedures must be finalized before he is ready to turn on the capability.

The difference between the Greater Rochester Airport system and most around the country is that it is not an optional screening run by CBP to confirm foreign nationals entering and exiting the country, but rather a security system the airport hopes to use to run images of all travelers against a database provided by an entity like the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force.

No timetable is available for the technology’s operational launch.

Biometric boarding with facial recognition from Amadeus has also been launched at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for all international departures to provide touchless process compliant to CBP requirements for departing international travelers.

Spirit Airlines is the first to take the capability live, with installations at 14 Terminal 4 departure gates.

Each Biopod from Amadeus includes a high-resolution 3D camera, and secure encrypted connectivity to CBP’s Traveler Verification System (TVS). No personal data is stored by Spirit, the airport, or Amadeus.

Birdi Systems credentialing software certified for Lenel platform integration

Aviation credentialing software from Birdi Systems has been granted Lenel Factory Certification for biometric capture, digital document uploading and other air travel processes.

The Federated and Integrated Solutions for Credentialing (FISC) has also been added to its OpenAccessAlliance Program (OAAP), and integrates tightly with the Lenel OnGuard access control system for centralized and automated airport credentialing and identity management. The integrated platform communicates with Designated Aviation Channeling (DAC) providers, the TSA, and the FBI for its background checks.

“This integration powers customers with various software modules such as Biographic & Biometric Data Capture, Automated Security Clearances, Digital Document Upload and Management, Training/Certification Management, Billing, Violations, Assets & Vehicle Management, Badge Creation & Template Management, and Company Management including Signature Capture,” states John Marchioli, OAAP product management, Lenel.

FISC has been successfully integrated at Los Angeles World Airports, reducing the wait for credentialling from as long as four weeks to as few as two days, according to the announcement. Most recently it was included in an upgrade at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport.

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