Is biometric technology the way forward in the airline industry?

As more and more airports decide to use biometric technologies to support flight operations, the question arises as to what benefits this could bring to the aviation industry as a whole.

Just last week, on November 15, British Airways became the first British airline to use biometric technology on its passengers. The trial, taking place at London Heathrow Airport and lasting six months, also follows the launch of Korea Air’s biometric self-boarding services in February this year. Such changes signal an advance in the technology used at airports.

Countless benefits

Face recognition, in particular, has become a beneficial aspect of airport processes as more and more airports allow passengers to use their face as an identity. JFK Airport is one example, where it has introduced biometric boarding at 27 international gates in Terminal 4. Travelers traveling from these gates can approach a camera that uses facial biometric recognition to determine whether or not their face scan matches their travel document. Once this is considered a match, passengers can board the aircraft directly.

The technology means that passenger waiting time is drastically reduced as there is no longer a need to show passports or boarding passes at the departure gate. In fact, Vision-Box stated that using biometric boarding, it only takes 20 minutes to board 400 people, which is half the average time.

Check-in information points AE at London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow, Terminal 5 | © Nick Fewings

Switching to this technology also helps increase airport security. The United States Customer and Border Protection Agency (CBP) rolled out facial recognition technology for border identification checks at 27 American airports in May 2020 to provide travelers with a measure of security for added security.

This summer there will also be a significant increase in the number of biometrics facilities at London Heathrow as they tackle a £50m project. In addition to self-boarding gates, these products also help with baggage check-in.

disadvantages to consider

Every new technological development brings its controversies, and the use of biometric technology is no exception. Some reports have raised concerns about the reality of using facial recognition to prove an individual’s identity. This is because the appearance changes frequently and there are situations unrelated to the aviation industry where some features have not been recognized, such as: B. Darker skin. This underscores the issue of race in facial recognition and whether its reliability should be questioned.

Despite its disadvantages, we can only hope for further improvements in technology.

What do you think about the use of biometric technology at airports? Let us know in the comments.


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