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Airport face biometrics systems arrive in Philippines, Nigeria and Spain

Airport face biometrics systems arrive in Philippines, Nigeria and Spain

In Bangkok, adoption is low for biometrics at check-in, while airports in Spain and the Philippines are implementing it for the first time. India sees an uptick in adoption for the Digi Yatra system. In the U.S., officials are looking to get special treatment at check-in.

Bangkok and Philippines airports see adoption of biometric gates

In Bangkok’s airports, the adoption of biometric gates has been slow due to system instability and a low level of tech proficiency among travelers, according to the Bangkok Post.

Airline IT provider SITA anticipates that 63 percent of airports and 51 percent of airlines around the world will have biometric self-boarding gates by 2025. It is projected that roughly 53 percent of airports will have a secure single biometric token for all touchpoints by 2025.

The Airports of Thailand announced it will increase service charges at six international airports starting April 1, 2024 to be allocated through the new operating system, Common Use Passenger Processing Systems (Cupps). An additional tax of 30 baht (approximately US$0.83) will be included in ticket prices, bringing the total service charge for passengers to 730 baht (US$20.30).

The system is intended to reduce congestion at check-in.

Nok Air Chief Executive Wutthiphum Jurangkool says tech adoption in Thailand airports is slower than those in Europe and the U.S. He estimates it could take 2-3 years for uptake to fully take off.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the Secretary of Transportation has announced the country will use biometrics from entry to boarding in the country’s airports for improved efficiency.

A single biometric token from a passenger’s facial scan will be used to compare the photo on an ID to verify identity at entry, check-in and boarding.

Nigeria installs clearance gates for Nigeria Immigration Services, Spain adds biometrics

The government of Nigeria has installed 30-second biometric gates at its immigration service at international airports in the country, according to The Nation. Once put into motion, the system will provide clearance services for passengers at all international airports.

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, says the system is expected to be in airports in  Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja and Enugu by March. Lagos will have 17 gates, while Abuja will get 10. Port Harcourt and Kano will have 5 each and Enugu 4.

The minister says the facilities are currently 70 percent ready.

At the same time, Spain has started allowing travelers to use facial recognition scanners at some airports on a voluntary basis, Birmingham Live reports. Vueling is the first airline to introduce face biometrics to airports in Palma, Minorca, Ibiza, and Barcelona. Tenerife Norte and Gran Canaria airports will get face biometrics systems in the coming weeks.

Digi Yatra used by 14M travelers, Akasa Air adopts facial recognition

The biometric airport system Digi Yatra has been used by over 14 million people in the 14 months since its initial launch at the end of 2022, according to Times of India. Delhi and Bengaluru have recorded the most Digi Yatra users, according to the civil aviation ministry.

The DigiYatra app has been downloaded by 4.6 million users as of February 10th, a 20 percent rise from the 3.8 million users as of January 1st.

While it is currently at 13 airports throughout India, Akasa Air will adopt the system at 9 airports, according to Zee Business.

With Digi Yatra’s biometric boarding system, travelers can register their ID and biometrics along with their flight details onto the app.

US Congress advances special airport security escort for politicians

The senate is moving forward with Sen. Ted Cruz’s plan to allow political leaders to go through security lines faster, according to Politico. Cruz says the amendment to the aviation policy bill is needed in response to a rise in threats against public officials.

Airports and their police departments have voiced that complying to such exceptions would be burdensome and could distract from their core duties.

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