British Airways is celebrating the success of its trials of biometric passenger processing in partnership with four American airports, SITA, and the US Customs and Border Protection agency.
Two of the trials revolve around biometric boarding. British Airways, in collaboration with biometric screening technology provider Vision-Box, kicked things off at the Los Angeles Airport last autumn, using facial recognition technology to match passengers to their travel documents and thereby allowing them to verify their identities just by looking at a camera prior to boarding. Now, in bringing that system to Orlando International Airport, British Airways has announced that at LAX it has allowed administrators to board 400 passengers in 22 minutes — “less than half the time it takes when not using the technology,” according to a statement from the airline.
Meanwhile, other biometric trials for flights from London’s Heathrow airport to Miami and New York are similarly applying biometric screening to the arrivals process.
In its statement, British Airways asserted that the aim of these trials “is to vastly reduce the time customers spend in arrivals queues,” but also acknowledged that the biometric technology is used by the US Customs and Border Protection agency to check travelers against its own records, with security being the paramount concern for the latter organization. British Airways asserted that it “has been working closely in partnership with US Customs and Border Protection to ensure strict adherence to privacy rules and regulations,” a timely assertion after the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s recent criticism of the CBP’s alleged over-reliance on private sector partners in handling traveler data collected through its biometric screening trials.
British Airways is currently the only airline trialling this biometric technology with the CBP for international flights.
March 9, 2018 – by Alex Perala