Perth Airport To Begin Biometric Passenger Processing

Photo: Perth Airport Terminal 2 Buildings. Photo Credit: By Orderinchaos - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Photo: Perth Airport Terminal 2 Buildings. Photo Credit: By Orderinchaos - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

LONDON – Perth Airport has begun to roll out the use of biometric technology to process passengers on select Singapore Airlines flights. Earmarked as a trial, the technology is being delivered by the dominant airport technology firm, Amadeus.

A Sign Of The Future

The science behind going biometric is to enable passengers to use their faces as their boarding passes which in turn, will make airport operations more efficient. 

Chief Executive for Perth Airport, Kevin Brown explained the strategy behind improving the airport’s operations: “The recently installed self-check-in kiosks and bag drop units enable passengers to check-in and facilitate bag drop independently without the intervention of airline staff – therefore improving passenger flow while reducing processing time and queuing. The new facial recognition technology builds on this concept.”

The airport has recently undergone a transformation of sorts, converting 16 conventional check-in desks into 36 new self-check-in points, and 16 automatic bag drop units. All 52 of these new installs have biometric capabilities. 

During the trial, consenting volunteers will check in at one of the new kiosks. It will create a biometric token that can verify booking details, an image of their face, and passport. As the auto bag drop system is validated using biometrics, this removes the need for passengers to present a boarding pass, as would be necessary with the more traditional bag drop.

Sarah Samuel, Senior Vice President for Amadeus, the company behind the new technology, says Perth Airport is responding to passenger needs by applying innovations in technology.“Automating document checks with biometrics is the biggest near-term opportunity for airports and airlines seeking to simplify how passengers move through the airport.” she said.

During boarding, as the passenger approaches the gate, a biometric camera will identify them using the token created at the check-in kiosk and then validate their information against the relevant airlines’ departure control system. 

“We have an uncompromising stance on safety and security and the adoption of the new technology enhances our processes while also improving the customer experience and ease of processing by automating passenger identification. The passenger experience is paramount, and this technology will allow us to serve more passengers to a higher standard, supporting the growth of our airport.” Brown continued. 

Like many other airports looking to optimise their passenger flow, this project makes use of a cloud-based passenger handling platform. This means that services can be scaled rapidly in line with peaks and troughs in demand.

New Technology Creates Natural Worries

Some may have questions regarding the security behind the data collected during this process. However, those people can rest easy knowing that the biometric token is protected and stored on a secure server for a very limited time period, before being deleted either once the passenger is aboard the plane or 24 hours after the creation of the token.

Regional Vice President for Singapore Airlines’ Southwest Pacific region Louis Arul said this of the proposed trial: “Being part of the trial for new biometric technology at Perth Airport reinforces our commitment to exploring and supporting new technologies that enhance our customer’s experience on the ground and in the sky.”

“Amadeus takes an end-to-end approach to biometrics covering the passenger’s entire airport journey, with technology that can be deployed once and easily adopted by any airline,” concluded Samuel

Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Malaysia Airlines are all set to follow in Air New Zealand and Singapore’s footsteps in using the new self-service kiosks and bag drop facilities as they all look to improve passengers’ airport experience.

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