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Biometric flight boarding piloted in Lisbon, contactless border control in Moscow

Biometric flight boarding piloted in Lisbon, contactless border control in Moscow

Developments in air passenger transport seek to make travel more convenient for customers, and more efficient and eventually more profitable for airports and airlines. Moscow Sheremetyevo airport is reporting increased passenger satisfaction with a trial of 20 AI-enhanced passport-reading e-gates with Smart Engines technology for international flights. LAX is trialing a booking system for time slots to go through security, and Vision-Box partners are expanding their biometrics projects in Portugal and considering doing so in Dubai.

Vision-Box partners expand ‘biometric experience’

A new pilot project of contactless biometrics for boarding flights from Lisbon Airport to destinations both within and outside the European Union by ANA and Vinci Airports, operators of the airport. Lisbon Airport has used biometric gates supplied by Portuguese machine-vision specialist Vision-Box for years.

Registered passengers can board their flight without presenting a boarding pass or identity document, under the ‘Biometric Experience’ pilot. The pilot was unveiled to coincide with tech innovation event Websummit 2021, which is being hosted in Lisbon, and is expected to bring be attended by 40,000 people.

Vision-Box is also holding brainstorming sessions with Dubai Immigration, Emirates airline and Dubai Airports on the possibilities of barrier-free air travel where many stages of a journey would be carried out by passengers in advance.

Vision-Box collaborated with Emirates to bring biometric gateways – the ‘biometric path’ – to Dubai International Airport and want to push the possibilities even further: selfies taken at home with an airline app.

“In the future, the mobility of the passenger – and the technology provided to automate the passenger movement – is part of the airport design,” Osama Nawayseh, Middle East Sales Manager at Vision-Box is quoted as saying by Gulf News.

“There are no barriers, there are no doors – you simply walk to the departure gates and just go to the aircraft.”

Nawayseh is even hoping to do away with security checks in this vision of the future, although there are no details on that aspect. By moving check-in to passenger-led, face biometrics with a device, the airport journey would be reduced to bag drop.

“The new technology will include using a mobile or selfie-registration, so you start the process from home,” said Nawayseh. “We are in discussion with Emirates and other airlines in the region to implement this technology.”

Nawayseh argues that this would mean no need to expand airport buildings to cope with greater passenger numbers and areas used by check-in could become revenue-generating retail.

The future platform would also allow health pass integrations such as IATA’s Travel Pass. Vision-Box is suggesting travel, health and identity documents could be linked in the biometric platform and checked at one location in the airport, without requiring a human agent.

Moscow pioneers AI-enhanced e-gates for international flight contactless border control

Smart Engines software has been incorporated into 20 Sapsan passport e-gates at Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) which are seeing triple the typical throughput. The gates allow contactless border control on international flights and will be expanded to other Russian airports.

Optical character recognition (OCR) is used to scan the text data from passports and processed within the gate, with no internet connection required, which reduces privacy risks. The system can recognize 1,810 types of ID from 210 issuers worldwide. The system was incorporated into the gates by GazIntech.

The AI-based OCR software is said to improve the efficiency of Border Force officials by reducing the number of manual identity and security checks needed.

“With increased international demand in border control security, time is of the essence more than ever before: no one can afford being late for a flight yet everyone wants to pass through border control securely,” said Dr. Vladimir Arlazarov, CEO at Smart Engines. “We are proud that our state-of-the-art technologies save time for both passengers and border control officials.”

LAX trials reservations to go through security

United Airlines passengers flying out of Los Angeles International Airport can join a trial of security appointments. Passengers can reserve a 15-minute window to go through the Transportation Security Administration screening via the new LAX Fast Lane service.

The free service then generates a QR code which passengers show on arrival at security. It cannot be used in conjunction with the benefits of the TSA PreCheck biometric authentication service.

A similar trial of TSA reservations was recently launched in Orlando using biometrics from Clear, however, Pangiam, which just launched a biometrics partnership with TSA in Atlanta, is a partner in the LAX pilot.

Passengers are able to reserve a slot up to 24 hours before departure, although it may still be possible to book on arrival at the airport. The 90-day trial is for United flights leaving LAX between 6.30am and 1pm up to 18 January 2022.

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