British Airways launch Amadeus Biometric Solutions to become the first UK airline trialling biometric tech for international flights
On 15 November, British Airways announced they are the first UK airline to trial the use of biometric technology for international flights. This utilises technology developed by Amadeus and adapted by the British flag carrier.
British Airways became the first UK airline to introduce biometric technology on domestic flights back in 2017. This technology recorded customers’ facial scans at Security and matched it to them once at the boarding gate. The airline continues to pioneer adoption of experience enhancing digital technologies. This 2022 trial marks a significant step in the UK’s journey towards offering a seamless journey to passengers.
David Breeze, Operations Transformation Manager for British Airways said:
“This is a secure and efficient tool that makes for a smarter and smoother airport experience, which will reduce the time it takes for us to board aircraft.”
How it works
Using biometric technology, passengers will not have to show their passport. This allows customers to travel ‘smartly’ through the airport.
Passengers involved in the trial will scan their face, passport, and boarding pass on their smartphone or tablet from the comfort of their homes. Once at the airport, Smart Bio-Pod cameras verify the passenger’s identity in approximately 2.5 seconds.
The trial is running for six months on British Airways flights to Malaga, Spain. Depending on the success of the trial, this technology will be extended to more international flights.
The technology can offer passengers an enhanced, seamless travel experience. Additionally, it can reduce queues within the airport, helps board passengers faster, and enables an optimisation of staff throughout the airport.
However, passengers will still be required to show their passport once at the destination airport. This is one of the key issues currently holding back the integration of advanced technologies in the aviation industry. Although technologies can be implemented at a domestic level, it is difficult to have the same technology uniformly in place at the corresponding international destination. Taking into account the holistic passenger journey, an entirely seamless journey is therefore difficult to create.
Not everyone is welcoming technology in airports with open arms. Read ‘What do passengers really think about AI and technology’ to find out more.
British Airways have been in the news lately with their carbon offsetting initiative, read here.
The topic of biometrics will be explored in detail at the upcoming Aviation Festival Asia in 2023. A CEO panel featuring Bangalore International Airport CEO will explore ‘the future of seamless travel through effective digitalisation and biometric technology.’
Article by Jess Brownlow