Earlier this year, Emirates Airlines enabled biometric boarding for passengers going to Dubai from Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles. Now the airline is doing the same for people headed in the other direction. Emirates has officially become the first airline outside of the US to receive Customs and Border Protection (CBP) permission to provide biometric boarding, which will soon be available to anyone travelling from Dubai to one of 12 Emirates destinations in the US.
The program utilizes facial recognition technology, and does not require any prior registration. At the departure gate, the system will simply match a scan of the passenger’s face against the passport or visa photo in the CBP database, allowing them to board the plane once the match is confirmed. Those without a current photo in the CBP database can still opt for a manual check, as can those who would prefer not to use the facial recognition system.
“Our ultimate aim is to help our passengers travel paperless, without the need for passports and IDs,” said Emirates Security Division SVP Abdulla Al Hashimi. “Biometric boarding is one more step in streamlining processes at our hub, saving our customers time and giving them peace of mind. We are talking with authorities of several countries to make security using facial recognition technology more acceptable and accessible.”
Emirates will not be storing any biometric data on its own servers, though the information used to facilitate biometric boarding is stored by the CBP. The airline has previously deployed a curb-to-gate biometric screening system that was set up to facilitate the flow of traffic through the airport.
September 23, 2019 – by Eric Weiss