By Alison Lambert
MONTREAL (Reuters) – Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, wants nearly half of its 26 members to use biometric technology by 2025, as passenger demand for contactless travel grows and congestion at airports decreases after COVID-19. .
By increasing the number of airport touchpoints where travelers can use biometric technology, such as face comparison that allows someone to use their face as a boarding pass, Star Alliance hopes to reduce processing time through airport security, baggage drop offs, departure gates and lounges.
Christian Draeger, vice president of customer experience, said the group wants 12 to 15 airlines, or roughly twice the current number, to either use its biometrics strategy or ensure compatibility.
In addition to airlines, Star Alliance also hopes that the four European airports participating in the biometrics program will add additional touch points, as well as increase the number of participating airports.
“We will definitely need to go to about half of our participating airlines,” he said. “But at the same time we also need to increase the network of participating airports.”
Drager told Reuters that this is the first time the coalition, which coordinates services and projects such as digital infrastructure for members, has set a specific goal.
The movement of the air travel industry
Although the target is not binding, it echoes the private sector’s efforts to verify identities in designated lanes before security checkpoints. Companies like Clear Secure allow travelers with a paid airport membership to use their biometric technology instead of travel identifiers.
It comes as global experts in Montreal discuss the broader use of biometrics to safely replace traditional travel documents at a United Nations aviation symposium concluding Thursday.
The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) sets standards for everything from runway markings to collision investigations that are usually adopted by its 193 member states.
But the use of biometrics in travel varies by region due to different privacy rules and some countries’ lack of technical expertise which makes introducing the technology more difficult.
Over the next three years, 38% of airports plan to implement a single biocode such as a face that transports passengers through all checkpoints, up from 3% a year ago, according to a 2021 report from air transport communications and information technology specialist SITA.
United Airlines, a member of Star Alliance, said it is pursuing ways to facilitate travel through the use of biometrics at several points throughout the airport.
Other uses of biometrics to facilitate travel have grown over time. Speaking at the symposium, Christian Der Markar, Technical Officer with the ICAO Passenger Identification Programme, said that about 80% of ICAO countries now issue electronic passports, which were launched in 2004 and have secure slides with photos of travelers. .
Dräger predicts that when biometrics are used by at least half of travelers “we could see significant benefits”.