Airport Business

JUN-JUL 2018

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June/July 2018 airportbusiness 11 TECHNOLOGY The airport got an e-gate on loan from the manufacturer and deployed it at Gate 80. SITA is a contractor for MCO and it worked on the software portion of the pilot. "It was a relationship that continued to grow and we were able to support them in their desire to do a pilot," Newsome said. "We were able to bring the pieces together." Newsome said biometrics screening isn't just about enhanced security. It also provides greater customer service. "We want our visitors to feel like they're well-treated," Newsome said. "Having them stand in line three hours to get through the FIS is not good customer service." Adding exit biometrics improves customer service further, Newsome said, by making it so passengers don't have to search for documents to board a plane. He said it also allowed the airport to load a British Airways 777 in 20 minutes. "It's so hassle-free that it's a great thing for our passengers," Newsome said. "It's no fumbling, no concern about having the right page presented, having to use your bar code on your cellphone or any of that kind of stuff." Newsome said the e-gates don't take up additional room and just need 120 volt connection and a couple of Ethernet data cables. The airport was able to take out the boarding gate readers and use the existing conduit to run the wiring. The cost of installation was also less expensive than people though, he added. "It's important for us and the economy that people get in quickly," said Sean Farrell, director of strategy and innovations for SITA. "This program has certainly expedited that because it's very important to this community that the conditions here and international travelers that people can enter and exit expeditiously." "Reducing the entry time by 50 percent is a big dang deal for us," Newsome said. Newsome said the technology is mature and the infrastructure needs are minimal, so widespread biometric rollout hasn't been too challenging. "The only big challenge is there are so many partners involved and coordinating among them," he said. "But we found that a number of airlines that provide international service here are really eager." BIOMETRICS BUILDS ON SUCCESS Biometric security is gaining a major foothold in North America in 2018. The Mexican government rolled out more than 100 automated border control kiosks using biometric technology at airports in Mexico City, Los Cabos and Cancun. Farrell said recent trials with biometrics at airports have been successful so the technology will roll out on a larger scale in North America in the near future. CBP has built a matching system to match the faces of travelers captured at the boarding gate, which can be checked against information they already have. Using all the information, they're now working with the airlines to consolidate it into databases based on each of the outbound flights from the U.S. Farrell said the airlines are starting to embrace the move to improve the overall passenger experience. He expects the majority of people traveling out of the U.S. will use biometric boarding of the aircraft in the very near future. "CBP is approaching the airlines saying 'we want to help you make travel easier and fun again, and we're offering you this service to plug into your passenger processes initially at the boarding gates and also offering the potential of using this new technology at other passenger touchpoints as well, like check-in, self-bag drop and so on,'" he said. "It's really potentially going to revolutionize airports in the U.S. for international travel. At the same time, CBP is looking at how it can use this technology on the inbound side as well." Farrell said there is discussion of using biometrics with existing trusted traveler programs and the U.S. Global Entry program could move to a face-based system while combining it was the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint program. "There really is potential for this new technology to change the entire travel process in North America," Farrell said. "Not just at the boarding gates, but at other passenger touchpoints as you leave the U.S." The big shift towards biometrics comes on the heels of biometrics trial program at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) involving JetBlue and CBP. Farrell said the program built a biometric boarding process using a single step, meaning passengers no longer needed the traditional boarding pass. "Passengers no longer have to find their passports and their boarding pass to board the aircraft. If it's a family they don't have to make sure every family member has got the appropriate boarding pass, if you're carrying luggage you don't have to put it down to find your documents," he said. "It's really as simple as you step up, you look into a camera, you're recognized and you board the aircraft. "We got it down to the entire process to actually capture the face image, send it to the CBP on the backend and get the match back was taking less than a second and it's working with a very high rate of accuracy, more than 98 percent success rate." Farrell said JetBlue also noted a 9 percent increase in passenger satisfaction. Biometrics kiosks can allow passengers more opportunities to move throughout the terminal with less interaction with staff. SITA

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