Airport Business

JUN-JUL 2018

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10 airportbusiness June/July 2018 TECHNOLOGY By Joe Petrie Biometrics Break Through in North America Biometric boarding is gaining a major foothold in North America, with more growth expected the rest of 2018. The continued growth of international travelers to Orlando had created a major challenge for Orlando International Airport (MCO) and U.S. Customers and Border Protection (CBP) agents on site. John Newsome, chief information officer for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), said wide body aircraft from Europe and South America arrive at the airport every afternoon, creating a crush of passengers on the Federal Inspection Station (FIS). Travelers coming into the airport could wait hours in line as CBP officers worked to clear them. But with little chance of more officers coming to the facility, GOAA turned to biometric screening to tackle the wait times while maintaining strong security. "What we're seeing here is it's reducing the time in the federal inspection station by at least half," Newsome said. "We're not going to be able to have more CBP officers…but we can get twice the throughput with no additional officers." GOAA took a major step into biometrics in April when its board approved $4 million to enhance entry and exit biometrics at MCO by late summer. Exit screeners will be deployed at 30 gates as part of the program, making Orlando one of the first airports in North America to use facial recognition technology for all international traffic. Newsome said $3 million will go to the exit portion of the project. The remaining $1 million is split between infrastructure costs and purchasing cameras for the entry portion of the project. CBP is testing cameras now and will determine which equipment MCO will purchase. MCO has embraced biometrics deployment since U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have pushed the technology. Newsome said the airport was one of the first to deploy the automated passport control kiosks utilizing biometrics. The success of the program and willingness to embrace technology had GOAA asking to be part of the early testing of entry/exit biometrics deployment. Newsome said MCO was the third airport selected for testing in the CBP pilot program.

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