Airlines and airports are investing in biometrics to deliver a seamless passenger journey

Airlines and airports are investing to deliver secure and easy travel for passengers, with biometric technology a key priority. This is according to research released by global IT provider SITA. The SITA 2018 Air Transport IT Insights show how biometrics are being incorporated into the evolution of self-service at the world’s airports. Over the next three years, 77 percent of airports and 71 percent airlines are planning major programs or R&D in biometric ID management.

Barbara Dalibard, CEO, SITA, said, “Secure and seamless travel is a must for the air transport industry. It is encouraging to see that both airlines and airports are investing in biometric technology to deliver a secure, paperless way to identify passengers across multiple steps of the journey. We have already seen great success where we have implemented it at airports across the world.”

“As the research shows, integration causes challenges and the variety of legislative demands can be daunting for airlines and airports. To deliver a seamless passenger experience, we must all collaborate – airlines, airports, governments and industry suppliers – and use technology to automate, and even eliminate, tedious processes. We achieve the best results when we work together, this has been most apparent when we incorporate secure biometrics into the passenger journey.” she further stated.

SITA already delivers identity management solutions, including biometric systems, that eliminate the need for manual checks. These improve the passenger experience while helping airlines and airports across the world meet the variety of regulations from Governments and border agencies. The most common of these is identity verification at self-service check-in kiosks.

This is already in use at 41 percent of airports and 74 per cent have plans to deploy the technology by the end of 2021. Self-boarding gates using biometrics with ID documentation, such as a passport, are also set to become commonplace over the next three years, with 59 percent of airports and 63 percent of airlines expected to use them.
SITA’s research shows that the industry faces some challenges for the full adoption of biometrics for passenger identity checks. More than one third of airlines cite integrating the tools and technologies at airports, and a lack of standards for processes and technologies for integrating checks, as the major challenges. For airports, the situation is similar, though 39 per cent of them say meeting government and legislative requirements is also a major challenge.