With passenger numbers on the rise year-on-year, airport infrastructure is being pushed to its limits and, unless addressed, is likely to result in increasingly lengthy queues. The industry recognises the immense potential of biometric technology as a solution to these challenges, enabling faster and smoother airport processes for passengers.
For airports, the technology can deliver an improved service to their airline partners, reducing bottlenecks and freeing up ground handling staff to focus on other customer-facing activities. For airlines, there is the promise of greater efficiency and a speedier turnaround of flights.
A successful pilot at Ljubljana Airport saw Amadeus take another step towards the creation of a common, centralised industry platform for biometrics. Working with Adria Airways, the airport’s home carrier, and LOT Polish Airlines, 175 participating passengers were successfully boarded in record time.
The pilot saw passengers enrol using an Amadeus smartphone app that captured a ‘selfie’ alongside their passport photo and boarding pass, which were all stored securely on a remote server. A photo of the passenger was then captured at the boarding gate and matched against those stored on the server to validate the passenger’s identity and flight status. Upon successful matching, a message was conveyed to the Departure Control System and the passenger was able to board smoothly. All biometric data was deleted within 48 hours, ensuring GDPR compliance.
The pilot saw average boarding times reduced by approximately 75%, meaning boarding took just two seconds, rather than the typical five to 10 seconds per passenger. The new technology promises to enhance the passenger experience by making boarding faster, simpler and more secure.
“We recently began a partnership with Amadeus, undergoing a full-scale modernisation of our IT systems,” says Bostjan Rakovec, Head of IT, Fraport Slovenija. “Innovation is our focus and biometrics is an area we feel Ljubljana can stand-out on by helping airlines to improve decades-old processes.”
Meanwhile, Bruno Spada, Executive Vice President Airport IT, Amadeus, explains: “This pilot marks an important milestone in our journey towards a remotely hosted biometrics solution for the industry where travellers only need to enrol once. Our solution is in line with IATA’s One ID vision meaning it works across all participating airports and airlines so passengers can arrive at the airport ready to travel.”