SITA has outfitted China’s Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA) with its flagship Smart Path biometric screening system. The contactless solution will cover the entire passenger journey, allowing people to move through security checkpoints and board their planes with a simple facial recognition scan.
According to SITA, the Beijing system is its most comprehensive Smart Path deployment to date. The company has now installed more than 600 biometric checkpoints, a figure that includes 30 self-service baggage drop stations, 80 kiosks, and 250 lanes’ worth of automatic gates. The technology is available to travelers taking international flights.
SITA’s screening technology has been used in a limited capacity at BCIA boarding gates in the past. The new system is far more robust, and will cover bag drop, security, and immigration in addition to passenger boarding. Those interested in using Smart Path will simply need to register their faces during check-in, after which they will no longer need to show their travel documents as they progress through the airport.
The contactless technology will reduce wait times and speed up the screening process. Perhaps more importantly, it will also mitigate the threat of COVID-19, since it will eliminate shared touchpoints and the need to hand physical documents to security personnel. Meanwhile, shorter lines will make it easier to enforce social distancing requirements.
SITA previously predicted that Chinese airports would be making a significant investment in biometric screening technology in a report that was released at the tail end of 2019. COVID-19 seems to have accelerated those plans. SITA has repeatedly argued that contactless technology will be essential as the air travel industry tries to restore trust in the wake of the pandemic, and seems to be taking steps to put that into practice with the new BCIA deployment.
Source: TTR Weekly
August 21, 2020 – by Eric Weiss