Airport biometrics growth continues and recommended to restore passenger confidence

Airport biometrics growth continues and recommended to restore passenger confidence

Plans to restore air travel passenger confidence and to improve safety with biometrics have resulted in more deployments of facial recognition, including an expansion by Clear, while an airport official and industry voices from Vision-Box and Amadeus are forecasting even more to come.

U.S. agencies begin biometric data sharing pilot and expand existing programs

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is starting an evaluation face biometrics at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) to see if it can leverage the Traveler Verification Service to carry out its own security checks.

The pilot is being conducted in collaboration with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Delta Airlines to explore data-sharing and integration between the Secure Flight system operated by TSA and the TVS run by CBP for identity verification at a TSA checkpoint.

Eligible passengers, who must be enrolled in TSA PreCheck or CBP Global Entry, will be notified of the opportunity to opt into the pilot while completing the check-inn process using Delta’s mobile app. Those choosing to participate will have a consent indicator included on their boarding passes.

Passengers’ name, date of birth and gender will be among limited biographic information collected from their identity documents by TSA.

That data, along with biometrics and metadata, will be anonymized, encrypted, and transferred to the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) for analysis.

TSA says it will continue notifying the public of its plans through publicly-released Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs). All biometric data collected during the pilot will be deleted within 180 days, the DHS says.

Simplified Arrivals & Biometric Exit

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is the latest location where CBP has launched its Simplified Arrivals biometric checks, according to a separate agency announcement.

“CBP is expanding the use of facial biometrics at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport to provide travelers a safe, touchless international arrival process that further secures and modernizes air travel,” says CBP Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Field Operations Diane J. Sabatino.  “Collaborating with partners like the Metropolitan Airports Commission has enabled CBP to deliver a secure, streamlined travel process that will enhance the customer experience and support the travel recovery efforts.”

CBP has also launched its Biometric Exit program to Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU) in Puerto Rico, in collaboration with Aerostar.

Copa Airlines is the first international carrier to work with CBP and Aerostar on the initiative.

Departing passengers will now have their identity confirmed with face biometrics as they board their flight, enabling CBP to meet its mandate to biometrically record the exit of foreign nationals from the country.

“As an agency, we are always working on innovative solutions to facilitate travel while also fulfilling our border security mission. Biometric facial comparison, both at entry and departure points, provides a touchless identity verification process that enhances security and improves efficiency, protecting not only travelers, but airline and airport employees as well as our own CBP Officers,” says San Juan Field Office Director of Field Operations Gregory Alvarez in the announcement.

Biometric Exit has now reached 27 U.S. airports, and more than 61 million travelers have used facial recognition checks at the country’s land, air and sea ports.

Clear reaches all four terminals at Florida airport

An expansion of Clear’s biometric technology at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) in Florida has been completed, with touchless expedited security lanes deployed to Terminal 4.

The deployment is the latest development in a three-year partnership between Clear and Broward County Aviation Department, and brings the biometric security checks to all terminals at FLL, replacing the need for passengers using them to exchange physical documents with agents during identity confirmation.

Clear’s biometric technology has been deployed at more than 55 locations in the U.S.

Bengaluru shows digital transformation and biometrics helping airport pandemic recovery

Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) Chief Strategy and Development Officer Satyaki Raghunath credits the facility’s digital transformation with helping it cope with the pandemic, The Times of India writes.

BIAL partnered with Adobe for platform support, and then with Accenture, as it carried out its digital transformation, including the implementation of curb-to-gate biometric processes through Digi Yatra, for which BIAL uses Vision-Box technology.

“The two months of shut down due to the pandemic made the airport try different things including the provision for biometrics and contactless boarding etc that allowed BIAL to reopen fairly quickly,” Raghunath said during an Adobe event.

Vision-Box Regional Director for Middle East and Africa Ricardo Vieira tells Arabian Business in an interview that biometrics will play a key role in the sectors recovery from a brutal 2020, and pointed to the contactless experience implemented by Emirates Airlines. Now, plans to expand the ‘smart tunnel’ are under review, and could be approved this quarter, Vieira says.

“I think the trend in the future will be, more and more, that you don’t need to stop, you just walk through the airport because the face recognition process will become more and more accurate,” he tells the publication.

The article refers to survey results showing more confidence among UAE travelers in flying than the global average.

Biometric technology will help to restore traveler confidence in many other places in 2021, according to an editorial by Amadeus Head of Customer Solutions for the Americas, Jay Richmond as part of Business Travel News’ ‘What to Watch in 2021.’

Travellers are ready to put their faith in technology, with more than four in five surveyed by Amadeus saying technology will increase their confidence in the safety of being a passenger again in the next 12 months. Specifically, Richmond says, biometric screening, digital payments and mobile applications will support touchless interactions.

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