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Biometrics and mDLs deployed to streamline air traffic during the holiday season

Biometrics and mDLs deployed to streamline air traffic during the holiday season

In the U.S., digital IDs are expected to help streamline traffic during airlines’ busiest season, and the New Terminal One is now testing SITA biometrics systems for its preproduction phase at the JFK airport.

Digital IDs in US airports expected to reduce check-in time

By using California’s mDLs as forms of identification TSA PreCheck lines in major airports, travelers can expedite their check-in process, according to The San Francisco Standard. The digital IDs are currently valid at three international airports in the state – SFO, LAX, and SJC – as part of a pilot program.

SFO anticipates seeing roughly 2.25 million travelers between today and the end of December, roughly 87 percent of the traffic it saw in 2019, before the pandemic. Over 300,000 state residents have downloaded the mDL, which is available on Apple and Android, since its August launch. The program can currently support up to 1.5 million enrollees.

To enroll into the digital ID program, individuals must download the CA DMV digital wallet app, create or log into a DMV account, and then submit a photo of their face and a photo of their ID to confirm their identity. The app then delivers a digital copy of the ID. The IDs cannot be used for proof of age when purchasing age-restricted products.

TSA is also gearing up for holiday travel at many checkpoints in airports throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands by utilizing CAT2 units from Idemia. December 21st to January 5th is expected to be the busiest time for these airports.

Travelers insert their ID into the CAT2 machine, which then takes a photo of the individual and compares it to the ID to verify their identity. Individuals can then go directly to security screening without using a boarding pass.

TSA PreCheck memberships cost $78 for five years and can be renewed online for another five years within six months prior to expiration for $70. To sign up, travelers can submit a brief online application before scheduling an appointment at an enrollment center. Roughly three to five days after enrollment, participants will receive their Known Traveler Number (KTN).

Members should ensure their KTN and PII is correct on the airline reservation. Most will wait less than five minutes at the checkpoint, and children 12 or younger can join family members in the screening lanes. Children 13-17 can join if they are traveling on the same reservation and if the TSA PreCheck indicator is on their boarding pass.

New Terminal One pre-production center at JFK airport

Also in the U.S., representatives from the New Terminal One (NTO) project design team opened a pre-production center in the JFK airport to test its biometric passenger and baggage checkpoints as well as airport management systems before deploying the terminal officially, an announcement says. SITA is part of the Master Systems Integrator Alliance that is collaborating with the team.

The New Terminal One will open in 2026. Besides giving passengers a more streamlined experience with biometric checkpoints, airport operators will have an integrated system for managing baggage and aircraft turnaround, to name a few features.

Air Europa launches Amadeus Travel Ready

Air Europa international passengers can now use the mobile app feature Amadeus Travel Ready by Traveler ID for digital ID document verification before heading to the airport. Individuals can use the feature to verify their passports through online check-in either on a desktop or phone.

Once verified, passenger status will automatically update in the airline’s system. Amadeus Travel Ready will eventually expand to include biometric identification at various checkpoints throughout airports.

A recent IATA survey revealed that 75 percent of passengers prefer biometrics to traditional boarding passes.

Digi Yatra expanding to 25 airports

In New Delhi, Digi Yatra‘s face recognition for airport checkpoints will expand to 25 more airports in 2024, according to Hindustan Times. The system is currently available at 13 airports for domestic flights.

Digi Yatra will reach 14 airports in the first phase of the project and 11 more airports in the second phase.

Digi Yatra already handles roughly 13 percent of India’s domestic air passenger traffic at the airports it’s currently operating in. After the expansion, the system will process 95 percent of that traffic.

To use the service, travelers must register on the DigiYatra app using their Aadhaar digital ID and a selfie. Passengers would then scan the digital boarding pass at the airport e-gate, which will then verify the individual’s ID through a face scan.

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