“With passenger numbers set to double by 2036, airlines and airports need to be able to move passengers through these checks as securely and quickly as possible… biometrics can deliver this.”
Biometric security will become far more commonplace for airline passengers in the near future, with 63% of terminals and 43% of carriers planning investment in the technology over the next three years. That prediction came from a company that specialises in the development of aerospace security technology, Sita, after it published its report Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution which examines how human characteristic checks could improve security yet also increase efficiency. Sita said in the report that passenger numbers are set to almost double to 7.8 billion people by 2036.
One country singled out by Sita as an example that could “unlock the full benefits” of seamless, biometric travel is India, which the Swiss company said was in a position whereby the country could introduce 100% biometric air travel for domestic and international travel. India is expected to see passenger numbers grow by 337 million over the next 20 years to 2036, more than tripling from the 141 million passengers in 2016, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA)'s 20-year Air Passenger Forecast.
To make document-free travel possible in the country, Sita (@SITAonline) will work with India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation to create what it calls a “digitally unified flying experience” that links national biometric cards with the databases of airlines, airports and other stakeholders. Speaking on the subcontinent’s ambitious plan, the Sita president for Middle East, India and Africa, Hani El-Assaad, said India is leading the way with the use of biometrics in all walks of life. “We feel this presents an opportunity for the Government of India to work with the air transport industry and lead the way to drive new efficiencies in passenger processing and establish India as the world’s most efficient travel system.”
Sean Farrell, director, strategy and innovation at SITA, said the work required to check passengers are who they say they are was fundamental to the travel process but was one that needed to be done quicker in the face of growing passenger numbers. “With passenger numbers set to double by 2036, airlines and airports need to be able to move passengers through these checks as securely and quickly as possible,” said Farrell. “Biometrics is the technology that can deliver this.”
A little way ahead of India in using biometric technology at its travel hubs, Australia this year selected Unisys in a £24m ($44.2m AUS) deal to provide a biometric matching system that cross references fingerprints and facial images against a centrally-held international database. Designed for high-volume processing that can handle more than 100,000 transactions each day, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs has increased three-fold the number of images since 2013, while fingerprint data has increased at a rate of ten.
Learn more about the use of biometrics and other state-of-the-art tech in transport at the Transport Security & Safety Expo, which takes place in Washington D.C. on June 11th-12th June.
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