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Airports in 3 countries seek to balance fast traveler journeys, security

Alchera biometrics deployed, more Clear members checked by TSA
Airports in 3 countries seek to balance fast traveler journeys, security

A series of new biometrics deployments and airport pilot programs are seeking to reduce the amount of time travelers spend waiting in lineups in the U.S., Canada and South Korea. In the latter case, facial recognition technology provided by Alchera has been installed. Details have also emerged about the increase in security checks the TSA has been conducting on Clear members.

Bus service between secure areas

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing a new program to allow passengers transferring from one airport to another by bus to enter the secure area of the destination airport without a second security check.

The program will assess the transportation of passengers, along with their carry-on and checked baggage, from Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) and Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) to Philadelphia International Airport. The program launched this week for American Airlines travelers on buses operated by Landline, which is also an investing partner of Clear.

The program is intended to reduce the time and stress associated with flight connections for travelers, and would also reduce the screening burden for the airport and TSA.

Dedicated security check lane changes

Dedicated lines for Clear customers could be slower, with the number of random additional security checks performed by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration increased, according to the Washington Post.

The Post traces the change in policy back to a security incident which occurred in July 2022, and says it is outlines in a letter from the TSA to the company and airports.

Members of Congress asked the TSA towards the beginning of the year to check the identity of more Clear members after discovering that nearly 49,000 members had completed their initial identity verification manually, without the use of face biometrics. The “security incident” refers to a single case of human error among those enrollments, a Clear representative told Biometric Update.

How long the changes will last in unknown, but the move to digital IDs could eliminate the physical sharing of identity documents anyway.

“Consistent with TSA’s long-term roadmap, Clear has been collaborating with DHS and TSA since 2020 to implement new industry-wide digital identity standards. The implementation of these new standards will digitally transmit a passenger’s identifying information from Clear to next-generation TSA hardware at airport checkpoints and avoid any need for passengers to show their IDs,” a Clear spokesperson told Biometric Update in an email. The spokesperson also says that random ID checks have always been carried out at a rate which varies depending on several factors.

More than 10 percent of passengers passing through the 52 airports Clear operates in use its service, and the company says its security success rate is 99.9999 percent.

Meanwhile in Canada, dedicated screening lines for Verified Travellers are being extended to two more airports in pilots by the government.

The new service, launched in June at half a dozen airports in the country, will be offered at Ottawa International Airport and Halifax Stanfield International Airport as of August 23, 2023.

The dedicated lanes will be opened at peak periods for the duration of the pilot to test their feasibility, according to the government announcement.

New border control system for South Africa

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) is working the country’s Department of Home Affairs to set up a border control system based on biometrics, including processing of biometric data on passport barcodes.

The system in development is part of a larger effort by ACSA to improve travelers’ airport experiences. It also includes a joint initiative with Microsoft costing 150 million South African Rand (US$8.3 million) to integrate traveler data for personalized services.

ACSA says its technology drive will cover various airport touchpoints, and takes a zero trust approach to system architecture to ensure cybersecurity.

Face biometrics at multiple touchpoints in Korea

A new Smart Pass System has been launched at Korea’s Incheon International Airport utilizing facial recognition from Alchera for passenger check-in, bag-drop, security screening and boarding processes, reports KoreaTechDesk.

Travelers can pre-register their face biometrics for matching and presentation attack detection (PAD) at the various touchpoints.

Alchera’s PAD technology was confirmed compliant to the ISO 30107-3 standard Level 1 in a test by iBeta in 2022.

“Alchera’s facial recognition AI solution not only provides enhanced security measures but also simplifies traveler identification and access management, playing a crucial role in creating a safe and efficient travel environment,” says Alchera CEO Young Kyu Hwang.

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