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Travel industry expects big push on biometrics

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Most airlines and airports are exploring the use of biometric identification to get travellers checked in, through security, and boarded on flights, Forbes reports.

A survey by SITA, a technology company serving the aviation industry, found that 77 per cent of airports and 71 per cent of airlines are either researching biometrics or planning to implement programmes to identify travellers using facial recognition or other biometric means.

Biometrics are already becoming a familiar part of the travel experience. Jet Blue is experimenting with biometric boarding at Boston’s Logan International Airport, for example, and Delta will soon open the first fully biometric airport terminal in the US, in Atlanta.

And earlier this year British Airways expanded trials of biometric boarding and arrivals technology at US airports, with partnerships at LA, Orlando, Miami and JFK.

“Customers have an expectation that experiences along their journey are easy and happen seamlessly – that’s what we’re aiming for by launching this technology across airport touch points,” said Delta’s chief operating officer, Gil West.

Technology companies like Apple have also made biometric identification more familiar to the masses.

“Biometrics not only have the power to create a more secure world by validating identity with more certainty, but also create a more seamless customer experience,” said Caryn Seidman Becker, CEO and chairman of airport security firm CLEAR.

“We picture a not-so-distant future where biometrics replace the need for cash, credit cards and physical forms of identification – think health insurance cards, hotel check-ins, restaurants, car sharing, smart cities and more. The possibilities are endless.”

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