Internet Travel Monitor - Marketing, Research & Tech

March 7, 2018

Biometric Facial Recognition Boarding Changing Airport Experience

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The biometric facial recognition trial at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) has proven so successful and popular that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is actively exploring how widely facial recognition can be used at airports, a senior CBP official said.

Facial recognition “really has the potential to change the whole airport experience,” CBP office of field operations deputy executive assistant commissioner John Wagner told the IATA Aviation Day conference in New York.

CBP last year partnered with SITA and New York-based JetBlue Airways to test biometric facial recognition technology to identify passengers boarding flights from BOS to Aruba.

“We can confirm the passenger’s identity in 2-3 seconds … based off airline data,” Wagner said. “You don’t actually have to present the boarding pass.”

He said the aircraft boarding process is not the only place the technology could work. “We’re looking at the applicability at [US Transportation Security Administration] checkpoints [and potentially at] every place you show your ID at the airport.”

For starters, CBP would like to expand trails to include arrivals, so that passengers arriving in the US could be quickly identified by facial recognition. At BOS, “we’re cutting our processing times down by half,” Wagner said. “We really feel this can be a springboard to change the dynamic of the international arrivals and departure process.”

American Airlines chief security officer Jose Freig, also speaking at the IATA conference, said the industry has taken notice of the JetBlue/SITA facial recognition trial at BOS. “It has been very successful,” he said. “Many of us are looking at it and saying, ‘How can we do that as well?’ We really do envision a day where you walk up to the kiosk and a picture is taken to identify you at every point where identification is needed at the airport. CBP has laid out the foundation for us.”

Copyright 2018 Penton. All rights reserved. From By Aaron Karp.
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