Biometric touchpoints to quadruple at airports by 2030, predicts report

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A new report by market research provider Valour Consultancy has predicted that the total number of biometrically enabled passenger touchpoints in airports globally will rise to almost 51,000 by 2030 – up from 12,079 at the end of 2020.

This shift will be driven by airlines and airport operators working to modernize the sector, improve operational efficiency and reassure travelers of Covid safety measures. The 12-month research project was conducted in partnership with P.A.ID Strategies, an expert in payments, authentication, identity, security and connectivity technologies.

Despite ongoing disruption and uncertainty affecting the aviation industry, the market for self-service and automated passenger-facing touchpoints in airports has continued to grow. As of 2020, more than 50,000 smart touchpoints have been installed at airports globally, with nearly 24% of these possessing biometric capabilities.

According to the report, biometric integration into touchpoints will only gather pace, hastening the transition to the long-promised seamless passenger journey.

“While many installations in 2020 were part of projects initiated pre-Covid, growth toward the end of the year was aided by airports and airlines investing to encourage travelers back and provide safety reassurance,” said report co-author and senior research consultant, Craig Foster.

John Devlin, senior analyst and co-author, went on to highlight differences in the adoption of biometrics by touchpoint. “Most of us will be familiar with a biometric face scan when we use automated border control (ABC) e-gates, and this kind of technology will increasingly be found in check-in kiosks, self-bag-drop machines and other e-gates going forward. The self-boarding gate market looks particularly promising, with vendors attracted by high volumes, while airlines and airports can realize efficiency gains, reduce turn time and redeploy staff to focus on travelers in most need of assistance. Further, growing use within a border control context will help push biometric penetration in self-boarding gates to 78% by 2030. Meanwhile, next year’s deadline for the EU’s Entry-Exit System is boosting installation of immigration kiosks and smart border infrastructure and platforms.”

The report also reveals how self bag drop is expected to be one of the most lucrative touchpoints, generating US$502m in revenues over the 10-year forecast period. Integration of biometrics into this touchpoint is currently quite low at 14% but is set to grow rapidly over the next few years.

“There exists a sizeable installed base of non-biometric units in certain key markets like Europe, many of which will be upgraded to include biometrics as privacy concerns are overcome and stakeholders look to further improve passenger processing times,” said Foster. “In the USA, TSA regulations stating that passenger identity must be verified by an agent and linked to checked luggage are being relaxed, adding further impetus to biometric integration.”

Aside from how smart, biometrically enabled touchpoints can free up existing airport space to be used in more flexible layouts and generally enhance the passenger experience, the report delves into various other elements of the business case for these technologies. This includes how airlines and airport operators can benefit from the development of new business and operational models with a reduced budget and workforce. The study also considers how self-service and automation technology has the potential to dramatically increase ancillary revenues on-site, off-site and even in the air.

To download a copy of the full report, click here.

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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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