Editor’s comment: The new normal

Regional Gateway editor Chloë Greenbank summarises the latest happenings across airports serving business, regional and low-fare routes.

When it comes to implementing an end-to-end seamless flow system into the airport journey, this year’s Passenger Terminal Expo and Conference (PTE), which has been taking place at London’s ExCel this week, has proven that biometrics are indeed the new normal.

Unveiling what it describes as the world’s first, truly end-to-end, single-enrolment biometric system that covers not just one, but multiple airports, multiple journeys, multiple airlines and multiple countries, Collins Aerospace has announced that SelfPass is being used by JetBlue to advance the boarding process at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Bristol Airport in England and Dublin Airport in Ireland are also currently trialling the SelfPass end-to-end biometric facial scanning solution.

Similarly, SITA has announced during this week’s expo that Athens Airport has become the first European airport to trial SITA Smart Path. SITA’s biometric solution enables passengers to use facial biometrics to identify themselves at key steps throughout the journey without having to show their passport or identity card.

Japanese electronics manufacturer Panasonic has also been busy wowing delegates with its vision of the ‘One ID’ solution, which uses facial recognition technology to enable passengers to check-in, pass through immigration, receive guidance from a robot assistant (pictured), use its autonomous wheelchair, get personalised flight details using digital signage and self-board at the gate.

Systems integrator Informatica El Corte Ingles (IECISA) has also been showcasing its biometric software for automated gates at this year’s expo, as well as the ‘PassFly’ app to allow passengers to record their biometric data before they arrive at the airport.

Commenting on how deploying biometric technology is all about ensuring a seamless journey, Vision-Box’s vice president of sales and marketing, Jean-Francois Lennon, told Regional Gateway it’s all about identity management. “The technology is there, but you really need to look at the processes and the business case for airports,” he said.

He also noted that “the public are embracing biometric technology and while it’s not yet possible to read the chip in a passport with your phone and have it authenticated by the government who can then relay that verification back to an airline – that will come and when it does, it will totally transform the way we travel.”

With an increasing number of airports adopting biometrics, it’s not just about this technology being the new normal, it’s about using it to help create the airports of tomorrow.

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Regional Gateway e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

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