Air transport technology firm SITA has been contracted to implement a “check-in-to-boarding” biometric facial recognition platform at Frankfurt Airport (FRA).
Participating passengers will not even have to use touchscreens, SITA said, with kiosks and gates throughout the airport able to recognize facial biometrics. Added biometric kiosks and scanning stations will be installed at FRA during the first half of 2023 to enable the end-to-end biometric experience.
SITA’s contract is with Fraport, the company that manages Frankfurt Airport.
“From enrollment at a kiosk or counter, to pre-security automated gates and self-boarding gates, passengers can use biometric technology to seamlessly pass through each stage of the journey by simply scanning their face,” SITA said in a statement announcing the project, which it said “breaks new ground in the development of digital travel by providing a true common-use biometric platform at all [Frankfurt Airport] terminals, open to all airlines operating at the airport.”
SITA’s Smart Path platform will be implemented at the airport. In a description of Smart Path on its website, SITA noted passengers can “easily check in luggage in as little as 15 seconds” using facial biometrics and then move through the airport using their faces as a sole form of identification.
SITA has partnered with NEC Corp., which is providing its NEC I:Delight facial recognition technology for the FRA project. “Powered by industry-leading contactless biometric solutions that make touchpoints touchless, NEC I:Delight shapes personalized experiences that are safe, secure and hygienic while being seamlessly enjoyable,” NEC said in a description of the platform.
SITA said FRA is a particularly appealing airport to implement facial biometrics because Lufthansa, the hub’s leading airline, is already using NEC I:Delight technology as part of the growing Star Alliance Biometrics program. Lufthansa is a founding member of Star and FRA is one of the global airline alliance’s primary hubs.
Star Alliance said the biometrics program “leverages face recognition technology to enable passengers to experience fast, accurate and seamless recognition at self-service baggage drop, security access, airport/airline lounges and boarding gates instead of using their passports and boarding passes.”
Star said passengers enroll once in the biometrics program and “can then use the service with any participating airline at any participating airport.”
SITA’s project at Frankfurt Airport will utilize “the biometric identities of Lufthansa passengers enrolled on Star Alliance’s platform, enabling seamless identification of passengers without additional process steps across multiple participating airports and airlines.”
The Star Alliance is seeking to implement facial biometrics with as many of its 26 member airlines at as many airports as possible. “Key learnings from the Fraport project will be considered for further implementations across the [Star] network,” according to the air transport technology firm.
“With this implementation, Fraport is leading the industry in responding to shifting passenger demands for greater autonomy and convenience, while helping to maximize operational efficiencies,” SITA President – Europe, Sergio Colella, said.
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