Airport biometrics get an A from travelers, CBP gets an award and rollouts continue
Biometrics in airports are getting a favorable review by 88 percent of travelers, according to the 2022 Global Passenger Survey from IATA.
IATA also found that three quarters would trade passport and boarding pass scans for more biometric processes.
Concerns persist, however, around the threat of data breaches and how biometric data is shared, handled and stored.
“Passengers clearly see technology as key to improving the convenience of airport processes. They want to arrive at the airport ready-to-fly, get through the airport at both ends of their journey more quickly using biometrics and know where their baggage is at all times,” says Nick Careen, IATA’s SVP for operations, safety and security. “The technology exists to support this ideal experience. But we need cooperation across the value chain and with governments to make it happen. And we need to continuously reassure passengers that the data needed to support such an experience will be safely kept.”
The findings are similar to those of SITA. Passengers polled for the Passenger IT Insights 2022 survey rated their comfort with biometric identification across the airport journey 7.3 out of 10, the company says in a blog post.
SITA SVP of Border Management Jeremy Springall makes the case in the post that digitization in general and digital identity in particular are needed to help the aviation industry meet the challenges it now faces. Like Careen, he emphasizes the importance of stakeholder cooperation.
One of the trends Amadeus sees rising in 2023 is biometric payments in airports. The company suggests that technologies already being deployed for different kinds of airport transactions can also ease retail and hospitality experiences.
CBP awarded for Global Entry advances
The Global Entry program run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency’s Office of Field Operations has won one of three Homeland Security Excellence Awards for 2022, or ASTORS.
During the past year, CBP eliminated the paper receipts issued by its fingerprint biometric kiosks at 16 airports, according to American Security Today, which makes the process faster and reduces inadvertently left-behind personal information. The agency has also been trialing Global Entry Touchless Portals utilizing face biometrics at LAX.
As of this past April, face biometrics are implemented on all Global Entry kiosks.
In a video from CBP, OFO Trusted Traveler Program Manager Brendan Blackmer says the new Global Entry kiosks (or “portals”) reduce the time for each passenger to go through the process from up to a minute to less than five seconds on average.
Projects announced in Brazil and Abu Dhabi
BH Airport, manager of Belo Horizonte International Airport in Brazil, has chosen Vivo to support an innovation initiative. The initiative includes a test lab within the airport, and improved efficiency for facial recognition solutions is among its goals, according to a company announcement.
The Midfield Terminal Building in Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, is gradually launching facial recognition for the complete airport experience, from check-in to boarding, reports The National. Passports and boarding passes will eventually be unnecessary for flight check-ins, immigration clearance, entering lounges and boarding the airplane.
Locally-based AI solutions integrator Next50 has signed an agreement to provide the technology.