Lufthansa pilots biometric boarding technology at LAX


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During the initial trial, Lufthansa received very positive feedback from customers and boarded approximately 350 passengers onto an A380 in about 20 minutes.

Lufthansa Group has launched hassle-free, one-step biometric boarding technology utilising facial recognition at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), as part of its ongoing efforts to digitalise travel.

The pilot project, enabled through a collaboration with Amadeus, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Los Angeles World Airports Authority (LAWA), and Vision-Box, is now available at LAX. During the initial trial, Lufthansa received very positive feedback from customers and boarded approximately 350 passengers onto an A380 in about 20 minutes.

Here’s how it works:

  • Self-boarding gates with facial recognition cameras capture passenger’s facial images as they approach the device.
  • The image is securely sent to the CBP database for real-time matching and verification.
  • After a successful match within a few seconds, the system recognises the passenger as boarded.
  • The passenger no longer needs to show a boarding pass or passport at the gate.

Bjoern Becker, Senior Director, Product Management Ground and Digital Services for Lufthansa Group, commented: “The increasing need for airlines, airports and authorities to offer faster and more convenient processes for guests to move through the airport creates a unique opportunity for the use of biometrics. Lufthansa strives to enhance the customer experience by applying advanced technologies and innovative solutions. This is a further step towards achieving the goal.”

With ever increasing passenger volumes and airport infrastructure limitations, biometrics are becoming a key element to speed up the airport process, while ensuring passenger safety and security. In the US airlines will not need to create and maintain their own biometric database as they can rely on data provided from central source, such as the CBP, for efficiency and accuracy.

John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, added: “CBP is excited to work with air travel industry partners like Lufthansa to demonstrate how facial biometrics can provide a range of traveller benefits for a secure and seamless passenger experience.”

Following a successful trial in Los Angeles, Lufthansa intends to expand the pilot programme to additional US gateways and other passenger touch points. The trial’s completion will also pave the way for other airlines using Amadeus’ Altéa technology to rapidly deploy biometrics boarding for their own passengers.

“We anticipate that in near time, biometric boarding, as well as other aspects of the air travel experience, will be widely utilised across the US and beyond,” added Lufthansa’s Becker.