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Miami International Airport plans for biometric boarding at all gates by 2023

Miami International Airport plans for biometric boarding at all gates by 2023

Miami International Airport (MIA) says all of its passenger gates will feature face biometric boarding by 2023 to forge what the airport operator says is the largest implementation of biometrics in any U.S. airport.

The project will incorporate the SITA Smart Path that allows passengers to use their face biometrics as a boarding pass using technology from NEC. MIA says it will merely require passengers to step in front of a camera at a boarding gate and have their identity verified.

The airport expects all of its 130-plus gates to have the biometric boarding systems installed by 2023. Ralph Cutié, director and CEO of MIA, says, “We look forward to elevating our passenger experience with this state-of-the-art boarding solution.  MIA is now the busiest U.S. airport for international travel and continues to set new records each month for passenger growth. Biometric boarding is one of the major steps we are taking to pave the way for additional growth in the years to come.”

“Globally we see that passengers want a faster journey through the airport where key steps in the journey are automated,” SITA Americas President Matthys Serfontein comments. “Our Smart Path biometric solution will enable future expansion to other touchpoints at MIA as well as the use of multiple forms of digital identity.”

MIA’s Maurice Jenkins, who recently joined a panel with CBP and Idemia representatives to discuss the future of airport biometrics, explains in a video that while the airport has already reached full biometric identity verification coverage for arriving international flights, it will not extend the service to outbound international flights.

MIA has long been a pioneer with biometrics. It contracted SITA in 2015 to provide a total of 80 self-service automated passport control kiosks that use fingerprint and face biometrics to match passengers with their passports. It piloted a facial recognition-based biometric exit technology with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in 2017, and partnered with SITA, the CBP, and Lufthansa on biometric exit technology in 2019. The 2019 trial is said to have resulted in a significant improvement in boarding times according to MIA, and a 99-percent matching rate.

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