Biometric-led travel sees a boost as initiatives take off

Emirates is claiming a world first with the launch a “biometric path” for travelers at Dubai International Airport.

Testing is underway of a system involving various checkpoints from check-in to lounge entry and on to boarding and trials with passengers are planned for the near future.

The carrier is using a mix of facial and iris recognition technology for the project.

The Smart Tunnel immigration element, a collaboration with the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, clears passengers without the need for human intervention.

Emirates believes that the “biometric path”, which is initially for first class and business passengers, will speed up and improve the airport experience.

Going forward, the technology could also be used to locate passengers who might miss their flight.

The plan is to extend the system to all passengers in the near future as well as potentially to other airports.

Separately, biometric boarding has just started at Montevideo Carrasco International Airport with LATAM Airlines’ passengers boarding without having to show a passport or boarding pass.

The development, which uses facial scanning, builds on the airport’s use of biometric border control since 2016.

It also marks the start of a plan by airport operator Corporacion America and technology provider Vision-Box to bring seamless travel to 50 airports.

In a further development, the World Travel and Tourism Council is testing biometric technology to enable travelers to pass through not only airport controls but also applying the technology car rental, cruises, tour operators and hotels.

Various industry partners, including American Airlines, Hilton and MSC Cruises, are working with the WTTC as part of its Seamless Traveller Journey initiative.

A first pilot in 2019, which involves travelers on round-trips between Dallas Forth Worth and London, will see passengers using biometrics through the airport as well as for car rental and hotel check-in.

WTTC has also asked the relevant border agencies from the two countries to participate in the trial.

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