Biometric border control will move a step closer when Orlando Airport becomes the first US airport to implement biometric boarding gates from October.
The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) has signed a deal with aviation technology group SITA to make the Florida airport the first to fully deploy the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Biometric Entry and Exit Programme.
SITA will integrate its Smart Path biometric technology at the airport’s 30 international boarding gates following a trial involving British Airways flights earlier this year.
Passengers will just look at the camera without having to present boarding passes and passports.
The system allowed 240 passengers to board within 15 minutes during the trial.
Isabel Hill, director of the US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, believes the US programme can become the global standard.
Hill told the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) global summit in April: “We’re advanced in testing biometric entry and exit.
“We aim to have an exit system in place for 90% of [US] passengers in four years. Your face is your token. You will go from home to boarding and home again never showing a passport and never showing a boarding pass.”
She suggested: “We need everyone to co-create this system.”
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority chief information officer John Newsome said: “Our decision to implement biometric exit checks across the airport follows a hugely successful trial.”
“The boarding process is popular with passengers. They simply look at the camera, the gate opens and they can board. It is easy, fast and secure.”
He added: “The solution works on common-use boarding gates and can be easily used by the international airlines we serve.”
SITA Americas president Diana Einterz said: “Implementation of SITA Smart Path will deliver a simpler travel process for the airport’s six million international passengers.”
The system should be deployed across all international flights from Orlando by October.
The US Congress ordered development of a biometric entry and exit system in 2004, with the project transferred to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency in 2013.
Hill will address the Resilience through Tourism Summit in Jordan later this month. The event, on June 26-27 in Amman, is supported by the WTTC, UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Pacific-Asia Travel Association (PATA) and development agency USAID.
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