Report predicts biometric technology will enable the ‘next golden age of air travel’


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Biometric technology to enable ‘next golden age of air travel’
Clockwise from top left: Changi Airport’s new T4 will make use of facial recognition technology; biometric technology is at the heart of the Aruba Happy Flow single passenger token project; the US-based CLEAR programme makes use of fingerprint validation technology; and Australia is rolling out biometric-enabled e-gates for outbound passengers at eight major airports.

A new industry report exploring how the implementation of biometrics can impact the end-to-end air travel experience suggests that the industry is on the cusp of a major transformation, which it labels ‘the next golden age of air travel’.

The ongoing trial of a facial recognition technology-enabled single passenger token by KLM at Aruba Airport, and the recent pilot of a fingerprint-based passenger token by Alaska Airlines at San Jose International Airport, highlight the potential of biometrics, which have emerged as a key tool in the drive to simplify and secure the passenger experience.

The new report by Tascent highlights a variety of scenarios where biometrics can improve the travel experience in the years ahead. Among them is using biometrics to expedite self-service bag drop, self-boarding and automated frequent flyer lounge entry.

Biometrics-enabled enhancements in the aircraft cabin can also be achieved in the aircraft cabin. For instance, the report states that biometrics can be used to personalise in-flight entertainment offerings, streamline in-flight purchases, and enable in-flight immigration processing.

Many of these points align with the findings of the FTE Onboard 2025 Think Tank vision, which has been developed by senior figures from Airbus, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Panasonic Avionics, Avianca and Honour Branding, and which will be presented at FTE Asia EXPO 2015, 17-19 November, Singapore.

Commenting on the report, Geoffrey Lipman, President of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP), said: “As greater numbers of people move around the world, we need to find radical ways to increase their enjoyment, reduce their impact and speed them through controls, with simpler processes and better security. This study shows how that can be done more efficiently, using modern technology – it holds great promise for the immediate future.”

Tascent CEO Dean Senner added: “For the 8 million travellers flying around the world every day, biometrics can help transform an often stressful and impersonal experience into something personal, efficient and memorable.”