Passenger biometrics expansion urged in Entrust and SITA blogs, FTE honors efforts

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Seamless travel along paths defined by biometrics can provide the same benefits airports are finding in other areas of travel, including by rail, Entrust Director of Strategic Alliances in Identity Verification Jon Payne writes in a company blog post.

The ‘Global Guidelines for Safe & Seamless Traveller Journey’, published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) late last year describes how remote and touchless technologies can be used to restore passenger confidence in the safety of international travel. The ICAO’s Digital Travel Credential (DTC), like the rest of the biometric and automated technology stack being deployed to airports, can give travelers control over their data whether taking an airplane, train, or bus, and automated risk engines can be applied at any immigration checkpoint to assess passengers as part of an on-the-move border processing system.

WTTC data indicates that the global travel and tourism industry accounted for only 5.5 percent of the world’s economy in 2020, compared to 10.4 percent in 2019, a drop that includes the loss of 62 million jobs. To put those people back to work and get travelers moving again, Payne urges stakeholders to put the building blocks identified by the WTTC into place to make seamless travel a reality.

SITA Strategy and Portfolio Director for Border Management & Government Services Peter Sutcliffe argues in a company blog post that governments have a rare opportunity to reimagine their border control operations, between the slowdown in international travel, heightened awareness of need for robust checks at ports of entry due to COVID-19, and incoming regulations like Europe’s Entry Exit System.

Sutcliffe advises stakeholders to consider document scanners, biometric capture devices, automated border control (ABC) equipment, mobile clients, risk assessment modules, watchlists, and visa databases and other tools as part of a holistic system, which should be applied evenly at air, land and sea ports of entry.

SITA is working on ways for travelers to submit their biometrics ahead of time, to further reduce document checks and support seamless travel.

Biometrics prominent among Future Travel Experience honorees

The FTE Transformation Honours List for 2021 includes recognition of Star Alliance Biometrics in the Airline category, Entrust in the Vendor category, and Identy and Travizory each awarded for their biometric solutions in the Startup category.

Entrust is honored for its participation in the Chain of Trust project with Canada’s Border Services Agency (CBSA), in which passengers arriving by air travel through a biometric corridor for identity verification with facial recognition. The project went live in March of 2021 with Air Canada crew.

Identy captures traveler face and fingerprint biometrics through a mobile device, while Travizory is recognized for its integration of biometric travel authorization with eVisa systems, turnkey Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record systems.

A promotional video on Star Alliance Biometrics has been produced by NEC, which powers the opt-in biometric platform with its I:Delight software.

Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh emphasizes NEC’s understanding of its airline members’ business, which he says can sustain a productive long-term partnership. He also notes the potential for the program to be extended in the future to include touchless duty-free purchases, hotel check-ins and other use cases.

Honorees will share their stories as part of the FTE APEX Virtual Expo, held May 25 and 26.

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