South Africa plans biometric system at ports of entry, US and Canada announce new deployments
South Africa is looking to revolutionize its passenger management system by introducing biometrics at some of its major international airports and land border entry points across the country. On the other hand, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says it is expanding its facial recognition system to a new seaport as it continues push to modernize the country’s cruise travel experience. The Pearson International Airport near Toronto, Canada will soon have a biometric passenger system to ease traveler experience. Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines is trialing a biometric boarding system at an airport in the San Jose.
Biometrics at major SA airports and land borders soon
The country’s Home Affairs Department has announced plans to bring innovations to its international travel system including the introduction of a new biometric solution at some airports, as well as e-gates and e-visas.
The purpose, the Department says, is to cut down on the time used for certain airport processes such as passenger checks, reports Business Tech.
Per the report, the system being considered is dubbed the Biometric Movement Control System (BMCS), and will be used at ports of entry to capture the fingerprint and face biometrics of all travelers getting in and out of the country. It will be integrated into an existing live capture system at 34 entry/exit points.
Four of SA’s key international airports, including OR Tambo in Johannesburg, are on the list of ports where the new system will be deployed, notes Business Tech.
Meanwhile, the e-gate system is already on trial at the Cape Town International Airport and is used by passengers for self-service immigration check processes, the report indicates.
A new digital visa system, for its part is intended to facilitate travel to the country for business purposes and will help fight fraud and improve the country’s tourism growth potential. The tourist module of the e-visa is now active for 14 countries.
CBP face biometrics at Alabama Cruise Ship terminal
The Port of Mobile, Alabama, is the latest port to add CBP’s face biometric technology for passenger identity verification, according to a press release.
With the system, passengers will pause briefly for a photo which will be matched with that on their passport or visa photo in order to biometrically verify their identity using a secure DHS platform, the release explains.
“As we prepare for the increase in cruise travel around our nation’s ports, CBP is working closely with the cruise industry to make travel safer and more efficient, while also supporting travel recovery efforts. The biometric facial comparison process adds an extra layer of security and streamlines travel into the United States by replacing the manual inspection of travel documents with a secure, touchless process,” said Steven Stavinoha, director of Field Operations for CBP’s Gulf Coast Field Office.
The CBP face biometrics system exists in 13 seaports across the U.S and authorities say expanding the system to more cruise destinations will help boost the CBP’s capabilities.
The CBP system is used in several ports of entry across the United States.
New biometric system soon at Canada’s largest airport
The Toronto Pearson International Airport will soon have new critical infrastructure which will include new biometric check-in, boarding and border clearance systems.
This will be thanks to funding by the government of Canada as part of efforts by the country to equip some of its airports with such infrastructure to enable them recover from the shocks of the pandemic, according to a press release from Transport Canada.
In an announcement made by Transport Minister, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, the airport will receive more than $142 million from Transport Canada’s Airport Critical Infrastructure Program.
The idea is to enable the airport maintain safety, security, and connectivity for travelers, airport workers and residents of the Greater Toronto Area and its environs, the press release notes.
Alaska Airlines trials new technology at San Jose airport
Alaska Airlines is testing new technology in San Jose to improve passenger boarding experience using biometrics, as part of its establishment of a new technology incubator.
The system being tested out is a new check-in and self-bag drop platform that will streamline the check-in process, reduce confusion and reduce the time required to drop off bags, according to the airline’s announcement. Alaska Airlines plans to cut the eight and a half minutes travelers spend on average in the airport lobby in half.
The airline’s new bag-drop system runs on an iPad. Alaska Airlines says it was the first airline to introduce self-service kiosks, in 2007, and hopes to be first to remove them as well.
“Alaska Airlines’ use of emerging technology to enhance and streamline the passenger experience at San José Mineta International will provide more seamless transit of flyers coming to SJC — and create a more welcoming gateway to San José,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told Aviation Pros.
There is a facial recognition boarding system now in plane at the airport where passengers can easily board flights to destinations including Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara without exchanging documents with any agent.