Star Alliance finds biometric tech partner in Japan’s NEC

Masakazu Yamashina, Executive Vice President NEC Corporation and Jeffrey Goh, Chief Executive Officer, Star Alliance

Star Alliance airline network and Japanese technology company NEC Corporation have signed an agreement to “develop a biometric data-based identification platform” that will significantly improve the travel experience for frequent flyer programme customers of Star Alliance member airlines.

Poised for introduction at a Star Alliance airport hub by 1Q2020, the service will be available to customers who are enrolled in one of Star Alliance’s frequent flyer programmes, and who have authorised the use of their biometric data.

NEC Corporation’s Masakazu Yamashina and Star Alliance’s Jeffrey Goh

Personal data, such as photo and other identification details, are encrypted and safely stored within the platform. Customers only need to enrol once with their mobile device, and will then be able to use their biometrics data multiple times at biometrics touchpoints at any participating airport whenever they travel with a Star Alliance member airline.

NEC also added in a statement that “the system has been designed in compliance with applicable data protection laws making use of the latest facial recognition technology”.

Regardless, passengers may still be required to show their passport during security and immigration procedures.

Once implemented, Star Alliance customers who opt-in to biometrics will have a seamless and handsfree passenger experience, allowing them to pass through curb-to-gate touchpoints within airports, such as check-in kiosks, bag-drop, lounges and boarding gates.

Takashi Niino, president and CEO of NEC Corporation, said in a statement: “Facial recognition is truly revolutionising the airline industry and making flying more enjoyable, just as it was always intended. In support of this partnership, similar to our implementations in the US, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, NEC will mobilise its global resources and provide local assistance to each of the member airlines to leverage this secure, interoperable platform and rapidly bring our common vision to reality.”

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