Emirates has become the first airline outside America to receive approval for bio-metric boarding from the US Customs Border Protection (CBP).
Facial Recognition Technology
Soon, customers flying from Dubai to any of Emirates’ 12 destinations in the U.S. will be able to choose facial recognition technology at the departure gates, reducing the time taken for identity checks to two seconds or less. No pre-registration is required, and customers may also choose not to use the technology. Emirates does not store any bio-metric records of its customers – all the data is managed securely by CBP.
The technology was piloted at the departure gates of Emirates’ flights from Dubai to New York and Los Angeles through the peak periods in July and August. The results were encouraging with some flights achieving 100% bio-metric boarding and zero manual checks. The airline expects to make bio-metric boarding available for all its U.S. destinations by year-end, once the equipment is in place.
How bio-metric boarding works?
How bio-metric boarding works: at the boarding gate, the system clicks the passenger’s photo, which is matched against CBP’s gallery in real-time to verify the person’s identity in two seconds or less. The system may not work for those who haven’t travelled to the U.S. for a long time or whose images are not in CBP’s gallery, in which case they can simply approach the gate desks.
Divisional Senior Vice President
Dr Abdulla Al Hashimi, Divisional Senior Vice President, Emirates Group Security said: “Safety and security will always remain our number one priority, as Emirates continues to explore and invest in innovative solutions for hassle-free travel that help our customers fly better. Our ultimate aim is to help our passengers travel paperless, without the need for passports and IDs. Bio-metric boarding is one more step-in streamlining processes at our hub using digital technology, saving our customers time and giving them peace of mind. We are talking with authorities of several countries to make security using facial recognition technology more acceptable and accessible.”
Deputy Executive Assistant Commission
John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commission, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said: “CBP has been working with our stakeholders like Emirates to build a simplified, but secure travel process that aligns with CBP’s and the travel industry’s modernization efforts. By comparing a traveler’s face to their passport or visa photo that was previously provided for the purpose of travel, we have streamlined identity verification that further secures and enhances the customer experience.”
The announcement will serve as a boost for AVSEC Global 2019, which is being held from Sunday, 22 to Tuesday, 24 September at the JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai. The symposium is one of the most significant aviation security events in the region and one of the biggest globally.
Bio-metric Boarding for Passengers
In June, Emirates had implemented bio-metric boarding for passengers on its Washington-Dubai flights. The airline expects to roll out this technology across all its US destination airports. Emirates currently flies to 12 US cities: New York, Newark, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Orlando and Fort Lauder-dale. In October last year, Emirates launched the world’s first bio-metric path to offer customers a smooth and seamless journey at Dubai International airport.
Emirates Group Security
Emirates Group Security is an award-winning organization that offers a wide spectrum of security services ranging from general to aviation specific. Part of the Emirates Group, it employs more than 400 staff directly and over 2,000 security staff through its service partner Trans guard Group (TG).
Emirates Group Security extends its special aviation security services beyond Emirates to other airlines that operate in and out of Dubai International airport on a commercial basis. Emirates Group Security’s commitment to excellence is demonstrated by its strict adherence to its Quality Management System conforming to ISO 9001: 2015 standards. The organization was the recipient of the DQAA – Dubai Quality Award Appreciation in 2012 and the DQAA – Dubai Quality Award in 2016.