Biometric technology is being adopted at a fast pace by airlines and airports across the world, to enhance the overall passenger experience through touchless journeys. In the not too distant future passengers will be offered a seamless, frictionless, curb-to-gate experience, which provides a significant boost to customer satisfaction, as well as much needed enhancements to airlines’ and airports’ bottom lines.

A seamless experience

Facial recognition technology is one of the fastest growing trends in airports across the world. Biometric scanning systems, which include fingerprint, iris scans and heat signatures as well as facial recognition, are only predicted to become more widespread in the wake of the pandemic as touchless interactions become the norm.

Entire terminals in airports will offer a touchless experience, using passengers’ biometrics to do everything from check in for a flight, drop off luggage, get through the security check, board a plane, and be processed by customs and border authorities.

Passengers can simply register their ID and biometric data before they travel, alongside their flight details. As they travel through the airport, passengers won’t need to have their travel documents ready, as they will be authenticated and verified at every point by state-of-the-art biometric technology. This process offers the highest degree of safety and security while ensuring stringent standards of privacy. The biometric data is used only for authentication and verification of passengers to assist the boarding process.

In late 2019 London Gatwick Airport became the first airport in the UK to commit to using facial-recognition cameras on a permanent basis for ID checks before passengers board planes for domestic flights.

Keeping passengers safe

While the use of biometrics has many benefits for contactless passenger processing, airports need to urgently find a reliable way to get masked travelers quickly and safely through the terminal.

That’s where remote sensing can complement a biometric strategy. It’s quick to install so operators can accurately measure queue times, density and movement within weeks – whether or not masks are worn

At these times, airports need to trust the tech. For strained operators and beleaguered passengers, that confidence will make all the difference.

An eye on Airport Security

In the US airport security and passenger numbers pre pandemic are expected to continue to grow and at any time during peak operational periods, nearly 5,400 flights are in U.S. airspace. A key question for the future of biometrics is which biometric is best suited for use in a crowded airport? Each of the three major technologies has advantages.

However, Iris recognition systems have been proven to provide the fastest and most accurate identity authentication results while better maintaining passenger privacy. The iris, the colored part of the eye surrounding the pupil, has 240 points of recognition – far more than fingerprint and facial technologies and every iris is unique.

For example Nexus, a program jointly operated by the Canada Border Services Agency and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection expedites the airport clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travelers between the two countries.There are currently more than 1 million enrolled travelers.

Biometric identification technology enables passengers to flow seamlessly through airport touchpoints. After the passenger identity is verified at their first touchpoint, their travel documents no longer need to be presented – their identity has become their boarding pass. The passenger is happy, security is rigid and airport operations are more cost-effective throughout the terminal. Biometric technology is helping to redefine the future of travel.

We aim to enhance this passenger experience with our state-of-the-art baggage recognition technology. Find out more here.