Australia's international airports are in the process of automating 90 percent of air traveler processing by 2020 by implementing facial recognition technology that involves biometric recognition of faces, irises and/or fingerprints, hence eliminating the need to carry essential traveling documents such as passports. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection, while building on the Seamless Traveller initiative announced in 2015, said Sunday that it will make a transition toward a "contactless" system for arrivals this year, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Under the new system, manned counters will be replaced by automatic electronic booths and the existing SmartGate that scan passports electronically will also be overhauled. Before introducing it to a major airport (scheduled for November), the program is to be piloted in July at Canberra Airport where international flight operations are limited to New Zealand and Singapore. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is scheduled to implement the technology in all major airports by March 2019.
If you're the type of traveler that can never remember which pocket you put your passport in when asked to produce it by airport officials, then Australia's plan for a major overhaul of its checking systems is likely to appeal. The nation's Department of Immigration and Border Protection is aiming to do away with the need for passports at its international airports by introducing systems for biometric recognition of the face, iris and/or fingerprints, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported. International arrivals could speed through airside without ever interacting with a human official as the new technology -- part of the government's high-tech Seamless Traveler initiative aimed at transforming the border experience -- will eradicate the need for passport checks and passenger cards. Besides making the arrival experience more efficient, officials also believe the system will be better at identifying passengers on watch lists. While a number of airports have for several years been using so-called smart gates that prompt travelers to scan their passports upon arrival, the new system, which the government wants in place within the next three years, goes much further.
The Indian government plans to decongest its airports by introducing facial recognition technology next year - a proposal that may once again raise privacy concerns in the South Asian country. India's ministry of civil aviation on Thursday said passengers on domestic flights will be able to choose to use their biometric authentication system and go paperless. "Security will benefit from the ability of the technology to verify the passenger at every checkpoint in a non-intrusive way," ministry secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said in a statement. The proposal says passengers would be verified by being photographed at every stage of the check-in process - from entering the airport to proceeding through security and boarding the plane. The India government statement said the biometric technology will be introduced first at Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports by February next year, followed by Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada by April.
Narita will be the first airport in the nation to adopt a system that does not require passengers to pause for identification when boarding, according to Narita International Airport Corp. The operator hopes that the system will improve convenience for passengers ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Passengers will first have photos taken of their faces at self check-in kiosks where they enter passport and boarding pass information. High-performance cameras set up at the baggage drop-off counters, safety inspection areas and boarding gates will track the passengers and check their identity against the registered photos as they make their way through the boarding process. While passports and boarding tickets will not be manually checked at such locations, passengers will still have to go through existing procedures at immigration control.
Passengers checking into flights at Shanghai's Hongqiao International Airport can now use their face to prove their identity thanks to the rollout of facial recognition technology. The airport this week unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance, and boarding powered by facial recognition technology. While many airports in China already use facial recognition to help speed up security checks, Shanghai's system is being billed as the first to be fully automated. "It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process," said Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines, the first airline to adopt the system at Hongqiao Airport. Currently, only Chinese identity cardholders can use the technology.