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Security

Trials typify Indian trend for biometric processing

08 April 2019
Facial recognition for e-boarding is being trialled at Indian airports such as Hyderabad, initially only for airport staff and aircrew. Source: GHIAL

Major privately run airports in India, including Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai, are set to launch facial recognition trials for faster passenger processing by the end of 2019.

Initial trials are under way on airport personnel and aircrew.

Supporters of the technology say it will reduce major capital and operational costs by significantly reducing the staff workload at check-in and boarding. They add that the passenger experience will also improve as travellers would no longer need to show physical documents except at the security checkpoint.

Facial recognition technology trials at Hyderabad International began a few weeks ago. “We expect it to go live in a phased manner by September 2019,” said an official at airport operator GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL). Currently, the technology is only used by departing airport staff and aircrew, but in future it will be extended to arrivals.

The official would not divulge supplier names, but noted that the trials are “an extension to e-boarding [for] enhancing the passenger experience”. E-boarding gates from Kaba are already installed at the airport.

Bangalore and Mumbai international airports are also adopting end-to-end biometric passenger processing technology. “A key dependency would be on other Indian airports embarking on the same journey,” said the GHIAL source. While SITA Scan&Fly self-bag drop units in Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji International seem to be popular, it is unclear whether the airport will adopt the Smart Path single-token biometric passenger processing solution.

In 2018 Portugal-based Vision-Box and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) signed an agreement to implement biometric self-boarding technology as a step towards a digital ecosystem for end-to-end paperless air travel, according to BIAL. “Your face is your boarding pass,” said BIAL managing director and CEO Hari Marar. “Vision-Box’s state-of-the-art biometric technology, combined with its passenger flow platform will enable a seamless journey for our passengers.”

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