Biometric boarding gates from SITA installed at Philadelphia International Airport

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Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is installing facial biometric technology from SITA at 25 boarding gates in the A-East and A-West terminals for departing passengers on international flights.

The facial biometrics process is designed to verify travelers’ identities by comparing a live photo to images that the traveler has already provided to the government, such as passport and visa photos.

Keith Brune, chief operating officer, PHL, said, “The safety and security of our passengers and airport employees are our top priority and require a collaborative effort by the City of Philadelphia Department of Aviation, the US Department of Homeland Security, and our airline partners. We are excited to move forward with the installation of biometric technology at PHL. This system will make the screening process more efficient for everyone and is especially important as international travel continues to grow post-pandemic.”

Using SITA’s Smart Path solution powered by the NEC I:Delight digital identity management platform, passengers in A-East and A-West step up to a camera at the boarding gate to verify their identity and board in a matter of seconds, all without the need to present a passport or boarding pass. The system captures the passenger’s picture as they enter the biometric touchpoint and then sends the image to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for matching against existing images held within the CBP’s database.

Matthys Serfontein, president, Americas at SITA, said, “We are pleased to bring our biometric solution to PHL and help the airport meet the CBP’s mandate for biometric US exit checks. With Smart Path, the process is fast, efficient and eliminates the need to fumble for your passport or boarding card.”

The launch of biometric screening at PHL will occur in three phases with the first set of 10 gates now operational. The second set of 10 gates will be installed mid-January through February, followed by the remaining five gates in late March through mid-April.

“PHL spent a significant amount of time to find the best solution for the airport. Our goal was to find a viable solution that not only met the basic requirements from the Department of Homeland Security but also to have partners with experience in airports and biometrics solutions around the world,” said Allen Mehta, PHL’s chief information officer. “SITA and NEC were selected because of their vast experience, satisfaction and reliability in the industry. Since SITA has already provided other systems in PHL’s International Terminal for many years, this integration will make the environment seamless.”

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Dan originally joined Passenger Terminal World in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest aviation news, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.




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