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Airports deploy biometric gates and travel apps to streamline passenger, staff checks

Trial and launches advancing in Spain, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brazil
Airports deploy biometric gates and travel apps to streamline passenger, staff checks

Attendees of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) recent Ground Handling Conference were urged to use biometrics and consumer apps to improve passenger handling, and some of them appear to have been listening. FacePhi has won a contract with a Spanish airport operator and SITA technology is being trialed in Taiwan, while a Brazilian government face biometrics project that includes Idemia has been revealed to also include a range of other biometric technology providers.

FacePhi to supply biometrics to Spanish airports

FacePhi has been selected by Spanish Airports and Air Navigation operator Aena to supply and update a face biometrics solution for passenger and employee identification at its airports.

The biometrics contract is for €1.5 million (approximately US$1.7 million) over four years, and is issued with the objective of improving passenger experiences and streamlining international processes, according to the announcement.

The deal extends FacePhi’s biometrics to Aena’s network, which also includes airports in Britain, Mexico and Brazil, for digital onboarding and biometric authentication solutions. The consent-based technologies will be applied to various passenger and employee management processes at various Aena airports.

“For FacePhi, the signing of this contract with one of the largest airport managers in the world is proof that our roadmap meets the objectives set for growth and expansion into new sectors and markets, ensuring that our technology reaches more and more persons,” explains Javier Mira, president and CEO of FacePhi. “This project is also a clear example of the values ​​that FacePhi has always defended for our technology, since it is about using biometrics to make life easier for people, and always starting from the perspective of an ethical use of it.”

Taiwan trial set to begin

A One ID face biometrics system will be trialed in December by Taoyuan International Airport Corp. (TIAC) in an attempt to reduce waiting times for passengers, Focus Taiwan reports.

A picture accompanying the Focus Taiwan article clearly shows a biometric scanner for the two-part trial bearing SITA’s logo.

The deployment of the biometric technology is presented partly as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and partly as preparation for the future.

Part one will run from December 1 to 14, with biometrics processed for passengers on one China Airlines and one EVA Airways flight per day in Terminal 2. Passengers will need to present a passport at immigration, but not for flight boarding. Part two will run from December 15 to the end of August, 2022, and include more flights and boarding gates.

The identity data of passengers will be deleted once the plane takes off, according to the airport operator.

The system has been successfully tested with more than 100 people to prepare for the larger trial.

AirAsia outlines FACES expansion plans

The facial recognition capability of AirAsia’s Super App has reached live production, having already been implemented to replace cards for staff access control. The airline plans to roll out the travel-focused capability, launched in partnership with Vision-Box, to all airports in Malaysia within 12 months before being extended to Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and other key markets.

“The launch of FACES today on our super app is truly a game changer, integrating industry leading payment solutions aligned with our great value travel, lifestyle and fintech offerings,” comments Amanda Woo, airasia Super App CEO.

“The revolutionary system will make all the offerings available on the airasia Super App, including flights, hotels, ordering food, deliveries, ride hailing and so much more, simple and easy, with just a quick facial scan,” she continues.

“Importantly, it delivers the convenience of facial recognition for fast airport check in, anytime and anywhere and streamlines door to door delivery services through real time verification and contactless delivery.”

Brazil trial expands

A trial of face biometrics for domestic flights in Brazil is expanding, ZDNet writes, with airline crews using a similar system to one that has been piloted for passengers.

Idemia was previously identified as a supplier of biometric technology for the trial, along with Serpro, but other providers including Amadeus, Biomtech, Collins, Digicon, Gunnebo and SITA are also involved, according to the report.

The current phase of the process involves the use of the biometric technology by pilots and flight attendants at airports in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Biometric boarding is expected to reach all of Brazil’s airports in 2022.


This post was updated at 2:26pm Eastern on November 27, 2021 to correct that Aena is the FacePhi customer operating airports in the UK, Mexico and Brazil, not a previously-announced customer.

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