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SITA: Biometric technology is emerging as top solution for airlines and airports

Posted 20 March 2018 · Add Comment

Biometric technology is emerging as the top solution for airlines and airports to automate identity checks amid rising passenger numbers. This is according to Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution, a report published today by SITA.

It outlines how using biometrics to check passenger’s identity will power faster and more secure self-service processes at airports as passenger numbers are set to almost double to 7.8 billion by 2036.

Airlines and airports are already investing in various forms of biometric technology and SITA’s report explores innovative ID management programs that are transforming the travel experience today. In the future, these will be more commonplace worldwide as 63% of airports and 43% of airlines plan to invest in biometric ID management solutions in the next three years.

Sean Farrell, Director, Strategy & Innovation, SITA, said: “Across the world, airlines are required to check that passengers are who they say they are and that they have the right travel documents. This is a fundamental element of securing the travel process which cannot be eliminated. With passenger numbers set to double by 2036, airlines and airports need to be able to move passengers through these checks as securely and quickly as possible. Efficient identity management is essential for better security while at the same time improving the passenger experience. Biometrics is the technology that can deliver this.”

The good news for airlines, airports and the various government agencies involved in passenger identity management, is that passengers are happy to use biometrics. This technology is becoming increasingly commonplace in people’s lives. For example, by 2020 more than 75% of smartphones will have fingerprint sensors. This user acceptance can be seen among passengers too. SITA reports that the majority of passengers would definitely use biometrics on their next flight.

Farrell adds: “Passengers are ready and want to use biometrics. The easiest way for airlines and airports to make this happen is to use technology that integrates easily with their existing infrastructure – kiosks, bag drop, automated boarding gates. Moving to single token identity management where passengers can simply use their biometric, such as their face, at every checkpoint on their journey will speed passengers securely through the airport.” 

SITA’s report outlines how airlines and airports must have a global consensus on how to securely resolve passenger identity issues as an integral part of the next generation of self-service systems. All industry stakeholders have a role to play to harness technologies that can make the processes better, faster and more secure. The air transport industry must collaborate across all stakeholders and across the globe with governments to ensure scalability and interoperability across borders.

Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution combines SITA’s global research with commentary and cases studies from airports, airlines and global entities that are exploring and adopting biometric technology to transform the passenger experience. Those featured include Brisbane Airport, British Airways, JetBlue and Orlando International Airport along with industry perspectives from the International Airline Travel Association (IATA).

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