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5 Jul, 2021

How Do Airports Utilize Biometrics for Security and Check-In?

Over the years, there have been only a few major technological innovations when it comes to enhancing the travel experience at airports. The major airports of big cities are commonly seen as being very busy, with heavy passenger flow that sometimes can be difficult to manage. Airport authorities are now trying their best to maintain a high level of security and access control, dedicatedly evolving with and adapting to the changing technology. And, with the increasing popularity of biometric access control systems revolutionizing airport and travel protocols, we can look forward to a technologically enhanced future of travel at airports, and hopefully extend this system to the facilities of other modes of travel as well.

The Current Challenges During Travel

The routine procedure of flying involves firstly queueing outside the departure gates to enter the airport terminal. After that, you line up to collect your boarding pass and check your luggage in. Then you wait in the security check queue. And lastly, you stand in the line to finally board your plane. On normal days this process might not bother anybody, but on festivals or any other causes of mass travel, waiting in these lines becomes unbearable because they seem to stretch unusually long and move at a snail’s pace. Increasing the number of management personnel only increases the crowd at the airport, and if we regard the current times, this situation can become a thriving environment for health infections. Thus, it has become even more imperative to install a technology like Biometric access control systems that reduces human involvement but increases efficiency to a great extent.

The Benefits of installing Biometric Access Control System Devices at Airports

Many airports around the world have started assessing the operational, security, and privacy implications of utilizing biometrics to verify identity rather than manual ID verification. Biometric solutions for airports can create a seamless travel experience and can speed up the process of entry and exit at airports.

One of the biometric technologies that can be applied here is that of facial recognition, where integrating biometric capture with credential authentication machines to compare a live image capture to the image on a passport or license can improve operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience. You would no longer need to fish out your ID card and wait while the officer in front of you checks your authenticity. In light of Covid-19, this method can prove to be the most effective, especially if self-service kiosks with the aforementioned technology are deployed at travel document checkpoints at the airport.

Also installing ticketing self-service kiosks with biometric access control systems will ensure a faster process of checking in and getting the boarding pass. The biometrics will make sure that the correct ticket is being issued to the correct person, and the entry log can immediately be registered in the system. No more waiting in exasperation because the server is down or the computer is acting up or the ticket counter is closed.

While verifying your boarding pass to get on the flight, having self-checking stations authorize you instead of the airline staff will result in a smoother, more predictable experience where passengers are more relaxed as they know how and when to proceed and how much time will each of the processes of boarding take. Half of the anxiety of encountering long lines and noisy crowds gets eliminated with biometric check-in solutions installed at the airports.

Lastly, to improve safety standards and reduce queues at airports is establishing biometric identity authentication technology for on-arrival visa validation. Biometric identifiers like fingerprints and facials of passengers can be recorded at the airport, shared with the concerned authorities of the country, and an on-arrival visa can be granted. A certain time period, say about 10 years can be ascertained for your biometrics to be considered valid, so if you’re a frequent traveller to some country, the visa approval process can become speedy and effortless for both you and that country.

In the end, all these factors not only benefit the travellers, but also the airport authorities and workers, airline staff, security personnel and operations, and eventually stakeholders.

Implementing Biometrics the Right Way

Biometric access control system devices have been implemented at various airports around the world in the last few years, but it seems that this implementation is currently effective only when it is limited to major airports. The reasons for this may be comparatively better availability of biometric technology and engineers in big cities, and also the relevant amount of awareness among the visitors there regarding the use of this technology.

Looking at the success of biometrics in travel, governments all around the world are trying to implement the same to transform the airports of their countries into becoming more advanced. However, it cannot happen only by advocating how good this technology is.

Many biometrics companies in the US had hosted seminars and exhibitions explaining how biometrics were useful at travel stations. These events seem to be a brilliant idea for all the parties involved to get their questions about biometrics answered and recognize its benefits. Such events will also greatly help in making well-informed decisions to install this new technology at airports. All the big technology companies and governments should join hands to come up with more such initiatives to promote efficient technology to make lives easier.



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