Etihad Airways is trialing a new system that will allow crew members to use their smartphones to check in before their flights. The mobile system is intended to replace the check-in kiosks that the airline currently provides for its employees.
The trial will take place at Etihad’s Crew Briefing Centre at Abu Dhabi International Airport, and is being carried out in collaboration with SITA. Crew members will be able to use a mobile device to check in and answer mandatory pre-flight security questions, with an interface that uses a biometric facial recognition scan for identity verification.
Etihad is hoping that the SITA system will improve operational efficiency. Employees currently need to present a physical staff identity card to clock in, and need to wait until a kiosk is free in order to do so. The SITA offering will replace the cards with contactless biometrics, and will also eliminate a shared touchpoint during the pandemic.
The trial itself will run until February of 2021. If it goes well, Etihad will look to extend the program to provide passengers with biometric check-in and boarding opportunities.
“We are proud to partner with Etihad to design and implement a secure biometric system that offers a more efficient working environment for crew while solving a key operational challenge of the pandemic by reducing contact points,” said SITA Sales VP Roger Nakouzi.
“Etihad is excited to explore the potential that facial biometric services has for the aviation industry,” added Etihad Flight Operations VP Sulaiman Yaqoobi. “By integrating contactless technology, biometric services will increase efficiency while simultaneously cementing our commitment to reducing the spread of COVID-19.”
SITA has repeatedly advocated for the use of mobile technologies to facilitate safe travels in response to COVID-19. The company recently provided biometric screening technology for the Beijing Capital International Airport, and has partnered with NEC to develop a mobile app that will enable a contactless passenger journey.
Sources: Business Traveller, Gulf Business
November 26, 2020 – by Eric Weiss