Biometrics deployments speed up air travel across Americas, Asia, Africa
Several biometric providers have deployed solutions or entered partnerships aimed at improving the quality and reducing times of air traveling.
SITA discussed lessons learned from collaborative efforts during the Covid pandemic, and Queenstown Airport selected Elenium Automation to deploy new bag drop and kiosk facilities. Also, Cancun International Airport shared milestone figures regarding the recent use of its ePassport gates, and Taiwan upgraded its own kiosks. Finally, both Sri Lankan and Malaysian authorities said they are expanding the use of such technologies across the countries.
SITA discusses collaborative lessons learned from pandemic
In an interview with Simple Flying, SITA Asia-Pacific President Sumesh Patel says the early days of the Covid pandemic affected airports in a similar way as the events of 9/11, as in they required radical changes in processing passengers’ flows across baggage and security checks.
In particular, Patel mentions how the company added cameras to existing check-in kiosks to include biometric capabilities without replacing the whole machine.
Collaboration between stakeholders, such as airlines, airports and governments, was also paramount to ensure smooth passenger flows during the pandemic, trying to reduce government or immigration data checks at every point of the trip to minimize friction.
“One of the challenges was to think that through and build something like that, and obviously, we were able to do that,” Patel tells Simple Flying. “We found it challenging to get all the stakeholders together and find some common ground, but it was the way we could help the industry get back on its feet.”
SITA is partnered on airport biometrics with NEC, and deployed SITA’s Smart Path solution at Philadelphia International Airport.
Elenium deploys biometric tech at Queenstown Airport
Elenium and Queenstown Airport first partnered in 2019 when they deployed 15 kiosks. Now, the companies will add six additional bag-drop units and nine self-service kiosks by June this year to speed up the check-in process further.
“We are pleased to partner with Elenium again on a technology solution to enhance customer experience at Queenstown Airport and support staff working here,” comments Queenstown Airport’s head of infrastructure delivery, Jo Learmonth.
“We want to get passengers checked in as quickly and easily as possible, and this investment will help us to achieve that.”
The deployments come a couple of months after Elenium started deploying its biometric self-service kiosks and mixed self-service, automated bag drops at the Leeds Bradford Airport in the UK.
Cancun International shares biometric gates figures
The Commissioner of the National Institute of Migration (INM) in Mexico has confirmed the operations of the 18 biometric ePassport gates installed at the Cancun International Airport, reports Riviera Maya News.
According to Garduño Yáñez, at the time of his inspection, 70,010 travelers had used automated gates to enter the country at the Cancun airport. Of those, 56,779 are from the United States, 6,045 are from Canada, and 7,186 are from Mexico.
The Commissioner also said 16,803 people had used the new automated ePassport gate system at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM).
Moving forward, Yáñez confirmed similar technology would be installed at Los Cabos, in Baja California Sur and both the Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta airports in Jalisco.
Taiwan upgrades automatic border control system
The country’s Ministry of the Interior confirmed it had upgraded ePassport gates at an unspecified airport, which appears to be Taoyuan International, to facilitate international travel during the Lunar New Year period.
A report by Taiwan News further suggests the biometric kiosks, which feature face and fingerprint biometrics to automate border control checks, now support both registration and customs clearance capabilities.
In other words, before using the service, travelers first had to enroll by interacting with a person. The onboarding process is now automated, too.
The service is available to Taiwanese citizens over 12 and at least 1.40 meters (4 feet 7 inches) tall and to citizens from countries who have signed reciprocal automatic border control system agreements with Taiwan. The list currently includes the U.S., South Korea, Australia, Italy, and Germany.
Sri Lankan airport officials discuss biometric kiosks
According to reporting by Daily Mirror Online, the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) will soon deploy two biometric eGates at the arrivals terminal and two at the departures terminal.
“Although the project was initiated in 2017, it had not been implemented due to various reasons, as I noticed,” says Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, as quoted by the publication.
“Therefore, I instruct the officials to expedite obtaining necessary approvals in line with the relevant procurement processes and reinstate the project immediately, with less expenditure and more beneficial to the country,” the Minister adds.
The claims follow the launch of the procurement process for the Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity Project (SL-UDI), an initiative by the Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Project Monitoring Committee (JPMC).