Biometric air travel initiatives are being advanced in Singapore, the US, South Africa, the UK and Brazil


Initiatives using biometric systems have been unveiled around the world, and Singapore plans to roll out new iris and facial biometric verification systems at Changi Airport by the end of the year. Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) is launching a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck registration initiative, and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) is considering investing 100 million rand (about US$6 million) to to be among the first African organizations to adopt digital ID verification technology for air travel.

In addition, Integrated Defense and Security Solutions (IDSS) announces that AGS Airports Limited (AGS) has awarded the company the trial phase of its procurement program and two airports in Brazil will implement digital boarding technologies based on facial biometrics.

According to a study by Delaware North, which operates retail outlets and restaurants at airports, all of our current air travel bugs could soon disappear, Axios reports. Biometric surveillance would apparently spell the end of airside and landside segregation, as every person would be monitored at all times. According to the report, 64 percent of airports worldwide plan to introduce biometric self-boarding gates by 2023.

Houston airports use biometrics for agentless, document-free passenger travel

Houston Airports, which operates George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) and William P. Hobby (HOU) airports, is working with air travel IT specialist Amadeus to introduce biometrics and automation for accessible travel through the terminal via Amadeus Flow.

At Bush and Hobby terminals A and D, passengers who register their biometrics can expect to check-in, check-in bags, enter lounges and board without having to show paper tickets or ID.

Registration effectively turns passengers’ faces into their ID and boarding pass.

Powered by Amadeus cloud capabilities, 230 check-in facilities will be connected across airports, 110 of which will be biometric. The work is already underway.

Singapore plans new biometric system for Changi airport

By enrolling in the new iris and facial biometric verification systems, passengers at Changi Airport can take advantage of automated check-in and travel without the need for a physical passport.

According to CNA, iris biometrics will be used as the main form of verification for passing through e-kiosks, as well as facial recognition.

Passengers wishing to use the service must register with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). This is done at special kiosks where the secondary biometrics – fingerprints like those stored in a biometric passport – can be used to retrieve a passport when no iris biometric has been captured.

Should a person become distracted while picking up their passport, the passport will be automatically confiscated within 30 seconds and held in the machine until picked up.

From the second half of the year, foreigners will also be able to register their biometrics on arrival to use automatic release on departure and subsequent visits.

As more immigration processes go digital, CNA also said airport officials are being trained to take on more complex roles and non-routine tasks.

Over 5,000 additional officers will reportedly be trained in areas such as profiling and interview skills by the end of next year to identify suspicious travelers. The training itself included novel approaches such as eye-tracking for facial recognition training and using augmented reality for document review and virtual reality for general operations.

Idemia’s facial biometrics were already deployed at Changi Airport in 2017.

SDF launches new TSA PreCheck registration initiative

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) has launched a new TSA PreCheck registration initiative, which will run May 5 through May 16, 2022.

No appointment is required to attend the event, allowing travelers to sign up for Idemia’s TSA PreCheck program at the airport when they depart on their next trip.

Individuals can register directly at the airport or apply online beforehand and complete their registration at the airport.

Name, date of birth, and passport number are required to enroll in the system, along with a photograph taken for future facial biometrics, fingerprints, and an $85 registration fee for five years of participation.

ACSA invests $6 million in digital ID and biometrics technology for air travel

Mthoko Mncwabe, CIO and Chair of the Public Sector ICT Forum at Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), announced the R100 million investment in biometrics for air travel, reports ITWeb.

During a presentation at the forum last week, Mncwabe confirmed that ACSA plans to introduce facial biometrics and digital identity technologies to facilitate passenger travel experiences.

“We aim to be the first company at South African airports to use facial recognition in customer onboarding processes,” he said.

“The Home Office is also working on a similar biometric digital ID system that will be used to improve its services. These are the kind of systems we need to advance digital identities while ensuring customer data is highly protected.”

Mncwabe concluded his speech by calling for government regulation to support locally developed solutions.

The Department of the Interior is facing arbitration over a $27 million biometrics contract that went awry and has yet to be delivered.

AGS Airports Grants IDSS Trial Screening Procurement

The agreement sees Integrated Defense and Security Solutions (IDSS) partner with UK-based AGS Airports, Pangiam and Google Cloud to create a new checkpoint screening environment.

Based on the DETECT 1000 Open Architecture platform, the system will also enable the exchange of data between control systems to improve the overall operational efficiency of the control point.

DETECT 1000 has received a number of certifications, including from the TSA and the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) for explosives detection.

After testing in Glasgow, IDSS will then complete deployment at all three UK airports.

Brazil takes steps towards “biometric boarding”

The air bridge between Congonhas (São Paulo) and Santos Dumont (Rio de Janeiro) airports in Brazil will use face digital biometric boarding for both passengers and crew, reports Intelligent CIO.

The move is the result of a collaboration agreement between Infraero and Serpro, a technology company owned by the Brazilian federal government.

The new digital program means passengers no longer need to show physical identification documents to access the departure lounge and aircraft.

Instead, they can log into the system by having their photo taken by the CPF (Brazilian Individual Taxpayer Registration), which performs biometric validation by comparing the data and the photo taken at the time to government databases.

After registration, travelers’ identities are confirmed via biometric checkpoints with facial recognition cameras at the airport.

“The definitive deployment of biometrics at our airports is something really innovative, a great strategic development for the aviation sector,” comments Marcelo Sampaio, Executive Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure.

“It guarantees users more security, speeds up boarding processes and access to aircraft, and reduces costs for companies that will have fewer teams involved in these operations and less time with aircraft on the ground.”

The final implementation of the new biometric system is planned for next July.

Article Topics

Airports | Biometrics | Brazil | eGates | facial biometrics | Identity Verification | Passenger Handling | Singapore | South Africa | Travel and Tourism | United Kingdom | United States


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