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Airport biometrics providers see opportunity amid disruption of pandemic and new European rules

Airport biometrics providers see opportunity amid disruption of pandemic and new European rules

Airport biometric projects were in many cases delayed by the pandemic, but industry stakeholders are prioritizing them as they plan for something closer to normality, according to Vision-Box. The incoming EES system likewise gives European authorities a chance to improve passenger experiences as they deploy biometrics, and an airport design challenge included the trend towards biometrics in its instructions to participants. New projects have been announced meanwhile to process passengers with biometrics in Taiwan, and to reduce contact with shared services by Emirates passengers.

Vision-Box CEO says biometrics implementation being prioritized

The aviation sector has made the implementation of contactless processes with biometrics implementation following privacy-by-design principles a short-term strategy priority, Vision-Box CEO Miguel Leitmann explains in a company-produced video.

The pandemic also presented an opportunity for aviation companies to implement changes that would have required operational disruptions when passenger capacities were at their previous high levels, Leitmann observes.

“This is actually what happened in the last eight to nine months with Vision-Box and with some of the customers,” he says.

The recent period has been one of the most intensive in Vision-Box’ history, according to Leitmann. The volume of C-level meetings was higher than he has previously experienced, as a drive was carried out by companies in aviation to address passenger volume issues with biometrics deployments while their regular business was disrupted.

SITA sees opportunity in EES

The deployment of automated border control (ABC) kiosks with biometric capabilities to meet the requirements of the incoming European Entry-Exit System (EES) presents an opportunity for improved border operations, SITA argues in a company blog post.

Over 5,500 kiosks have already been deployed by SITA to airports around the world, which the company says gives it the base of knowledge and experience from which to optimize technological solutions so they are accessible to the widest possible range of people.

Immigration clearance is the touchpoint with the lowest level of traveler satisfaction reported, but those using self-service touchpoints at immigration report better experiences.

Airport architecture challenge acknowledges biometrics trend

Students participating in the Fentress Global Challenge to envision an airport design for 2100 were instructed to bear in mind current trends towards the use of biometrics and touchless technologies, as well as climate change, Airport Technology writes.

Curtis Fentress, principal at Fentress Architects and Global Challenge founder, tells the publication in an interview that when submissions three or four years ago noted that all passengers would be screened with facial recognition and biometrics, he wondered how long that change would take, and now has an answer.

Touchless biometric processes are considered an important technology for meeting passenger expectations, along with daylighting, clear circulation paths and “exciting architecture,” Fentress suggests.

Taiwan plans biometrics launch, Emirates kiosks go touchless

Trials of a facial recognition system for touchless boarding will launch later this year at Taipei Songshan Airport and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Focus Taiwan reports, to reduce overcrowding and improve COVID-19 spread prevention.

The deployments will begin following the Lunar New Year Holiday, and be architected in accord with IATA’s One ID single-token travel initiative.

Two major airlines in the country, China Airlines and EVA Airways, began processing passenger biometrics in the second half of 2020 for people traveling to the U.S. under the Biometric Exit program.

Emirates Airlines has upgraded its self-service check-in kiosks for touchless interactions via QR codes, writes Simple Flying.

The new service enables passengers to use their mobile devices to check in, print their boarding passes, select seats, and drop off their bags.

Emirates has been a leader in biometrics implementation in the aviation sector, with its ‘smart tunnel’ implementation announced back in 2018.

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