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IATA Travel Pass adds NFC, Hawaii adds NEC face biometrics for health screening

SITA executive identifies health data management as key to recovery

airport facial recognition masks

A trial of digital identity and COVID-19 test results with NFC technology through the biometric International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass will be conducted by All Nippon Airways (ANA), NFC World reports.

Passengers can join the trial by registering and then creating a digital identity with selfie biometrics and a scan of their ID document within the IATA Travel Pass using an NFC-enabled phone.

The trial will run from May 24 to June 6 on flights between Tokyo Haneda Airport and Honolulu, Hawaii and JFK Airport in New York, after the expected launch of the Android version “in mid-May.”

“Through this trial, ANA will validate the testing and verification components of the IATA Travel Pass app as it seeks to provide customers with greater options to make the international travel process more seamless and secure,” the airline said.

There are now more than 30 airlines piloting the IATA Travel Pass.

Two of those are Etihad and Emirates, which are using the IATA Travel Pass for flights out of Dubai. The CEO of Dubai Airports Paul Griffiths tells UAE’s The National that he does not believe there is an alternative to wider implementation of digital health pass systems.

The key problem to address will not be the potential discrimination of the pass systems, but globally equitable vaccine distribution.

Health data management key to aviation recovery

Effectively managing health data with biometrics and other technologies will be the key to the aviation sector’s recovery from the pandemic, SITA Europe President Sergio Colella says in a video interview with Airports International.

Colella believes lineups and wait times will grow rapidly to the detriment of passenger experiences if paper and digital credentials, as well as PCR tests, are not managed properly. Fraud is also a possible risk.

“It’s about biometrics and mobility,” he tells Airports International. “Your face becomes your boarding pass, so the passenger experience is facilitated by that. Your smartphone becomes your remote control. You get all the information on your phone, such as your health passport, vaccination and tests. These elements increase satisfaction and trust.”

Overall and domestic flight capacity has surpassed half of its early-2020 totals, Colella says, and numbers are up in China and the Middle East. Traffic will not return to 2019 levels for a while, and business travel in particular will lag.

Hawaii adds face biometrics to thermal screening

A partnership led by NEC and NEC Corporation of America has reached the third phase of a project combining face biometrics and thermal screening at Hawaii airports.

The partnership, which also involves Infrared Cameras, was announced last August. Phases 1 and 2 were completed in 2020, and phase 3 involves the installation of biometric facial imaging technology used to help airport officials notify passengers who are found to have elevated body temperatures.

Images collected are not associated with any other personal or identification information, and images are deleted within 30 minutes without being shared with any other agency.

“Hawaii continues to implement proactive measures in response to the pandemic and this is one part of a multi layered process designed to protect the health and safety of the community by helping prevent the spread of COVID-19,” comments Hawaii Governor David Ige. “Utilizing technology like the thermal temperature screening and facial imaging equipment will also add efficiency to the passenger verification process and bring Hawaii closer to reaching the new normal at our airports.”

The biometric hardware went into operation along with the thermal screening cameras at five different airports in the State in early 2021, following personnel training. The use of the technology is expected to be much more time-effective than manual temperature checks.

“With the completion of Phase III, HDOT can feel confident in the measures taken to protect the health and safety of its travelers and residents as tourism revives in the state,” NEC Corporation of America Chief Experience Officer Raffie Beroukhim says. “We are incredibly proud of NEC’s ability to successfully complete all three phases on time and on budget, and are honored to provide the technology solutions that help bring tourism and air travel in the state of Hawaii closer to the new normal.”

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