Biometrics the future for air travel: SITA

Sixty-three per cent of airports and 43 per cent of airlines plan to invest in biometric ID management solutions in the next three years, according to a new report published by SITA, Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution.

With passenger numbers rising, the use of biometrics to check passenger’s identity is expected to become more commonplace worldwide as a way to power faster and more secure self-service processes at airports.

Biometric ID technology on the cards for airlines and airports

Sean Farrell, director, strategy & innovation, SITA, said: “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.”

SITA said the good news is that passengers are happy to use biometrics, a technology that’s becoming a fixture in people’s lives. For example, more than 75 per cent of smartphones are expected to have fingerprint sensors by 2020.

Farrell elaborated: “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 further 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, and the air transport industry must collaborate with governments to ensure scalability and interoperability across borders.

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