Airports integrating biometrics from Idemia in US, Vision-Box and Unisys in ANZ
Airports and air agencies from the U.S. announced a series of updates to their adoption of Idemia I&S NA’s biometric technology this week, while Accenture has won a $199 million contract with the TSA. Across the Pacific, Vision-Box and Unisys will collaborate on a set of smart gates for airports in Australia and New Zealand.
Idemia rolls out new enrollment method to speed up air travel
A program from Idemia Identity & Security North America (Idemia I&S NA) that expedites the screening process for air travelers is being brought to them as they depart for their trip in a trial run at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) in Jackson, Mississippi.
The TSA PreCheck program allows for travelers to submit an online application and get fingerprinted for a biometric background check through participating U.S. airports and airliners. Idemia I&S NA says that the TSA has enrolled 13 million people with PreCheck since 2013 in a LinkedIn post.
From March 17, 2022 to March 28, 2022, Idemia I&S NA will run mobile carts that are equipped to enroll passengers with TSA PreCheck in five minutes or less at JAN Airport. The passenger will receive their Known Traveler Number in three to five days, Idemia adds. The trial run will be tested for pre-security, post-security, and gate area operational scenarios to evaluate various locations in the airport. The biometrics provider says it will expand the trial to other airports later this year.
“This is an exciting development for TSA, the TSA PreCheck Application Program, and the traveling public,” says Kim Jackson, Mississippi TSA federal security director. “We’ve listened to travelers’ feedback and worked with Idemia to make enrolling more accessible. Once we’ve completed this two-week pilot, we will have a better understanding of how it can best accommodate the traveler and where it needs to be within an airport to have maximum benefit. From there, Idemia will work with the TSA and airports to expand this improved enrollment process to other markets in the U.S.”
Austin airport incorporates face biometrics for faster screening
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) will be adding the face biometrics as a screening method to speed up passenger journeys, according to ABC affiliate KVUE.
The local broadcaster in the Austin, Texas area reports that all flyers arriving on international flights and some who depart on international flights will have their face scanned. The face scan will match the passenger’s face with a government database of identification photos from a passport or driver’s license. AUS will be using facial recognition used by the CBP, says KVUE.
The biometric system will enable the airport to catch fraudulent passports. AUS says the system has already caught one fraudulent passport. A notable benefit that the airport claims is the expediting of boarding times for travelers. Richard Mendez, the Port of Austin director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), says, “They can be in and out within a matter of 10 or 15 seconds.” Ghizlane Badawi, the chief operating officer at AUS, claims it processed 96 passengers in about 12 minutes, which is said to be nearly half of the normal boarding time.
For the privacy-minded traveler, Mendez says photos are not stored for more than 12 hours or can opt out.
AUS has hosted biometric systems before, with the airport integrating fingerprint recognition and iris biometrics from Clear for TSA PreCheck.
Accenture wins $199M contract from TSA to merge credentials
Accenture Federal Services (AFS) will consolidate the TSA’s three credentialing systems into one platform to bolster the agency’s threat response capabilities as part of a seven-year, $199 million contract.
AFS will support the TSA’s Information Technology, Technology Solutions Division (IT TSD) in the transition.
“These three systems play a critical role in delivering credentials to approximately 30 million individuals, including TSA PreCheck customers, transportation workers, airline crews and hazmat drivers, among others,” says Anthony Pinheiro, TSA lead and Accenture Federal Services managing director. “This new single platform will significantly streamline operations and provide TSA with the flexibility needed to more rapidly adapt to changing threats. AFS is proud to continue our support of TSA’s mission to protect the nation’s transportation systems, ensuring freedom of movement for all Americans.”
Vision-Box chooses Unisys to support biometric gates in Australian and New Zealand
Vision-Box says it selected Unisys for its service desk, field engineering services, logistics, and parts management capabilities to support critical systems, biometric solutions and deep airport and national border security experience.
The collaboration between the two companies will be seen in 93 biometric SmartGates used for automated border control at Australian international airports in: Adelaide, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. In New Zealand, 12 electronic security gates made by Vision-Box to ensure departing international passengers can enter a secured zone will be supported by Unisys at Auckland International Airport Limited, the country’s busiest airport.
Andrew Whelan, vice president of client management at Unisys Asia Pacific comments, “In the post-COVID-19 environment, contactless travel processes and identity verification are more important than ever. Unisys brings Vision-Box a unique combination of local service desk and support capabilities alongside current experience working with border security agencies, airlines and airports spanning biometric authentication solutions, baggage reconciliation systems and air cargo. We look forward to partnering with Vision-Box to ensure the automated security gates are available to facilitate travelers departing Auckland and the 10 Australian airports.”