Is biometric technology the way forward in the aviation industry?

With an increasing number of airports choosing to use biometric technology to assist with flight operations, the question arises as to what benefits this could bring to the aviation industry as a whole.

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

countless advantages

Facial recognition, in particular, has become an advantageous aspect of airport processes, with more and more airports allowing passengers to use their faces as their identity. JFK Airport is an example of this, as they have launched biometric boarding at 27 international gates in Terminal 4. People traveling from these gates can approach a camera that will determine whether or not their face matches their travel document. using facial biometrics. exploration. Once a match is considered, passengers can walk directly to the plane.

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

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

Moving towards this technology also helps increase the safety and security of airports. US Border and Customer Protection (CBP) installed facial recognition technology at 27 US airports for border ID checks in May 2020, providing some assurance of increased security for travelers.

This summer will also see the number of biometric installations at London Heathrow grow significantly as they delve into a £50m project. In addition to self-boarding gates, these products will also help with baggage storage.

Inconvenients to consider

Every new technological development comes with its controversies, and the use of biometric technology is no exception. Some reports have expressed apprehension about the reality of using facial recognition to prove someone’s identity. This is because physical appearances often change and there have been situations unrelated to the aviation industry where some characteristics have not been recognized, such as darker skin. This highlights the problem of race in facial recognition and whether its reliability should be questioned.

Despite its drawbacks, we can only hope for continued improvements in technology.

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

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