A joint initiative by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), British Airways (BA) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seen the implementation of new biometric boarding gates from SITA at Orlando International Airport, Florida.
During the three-month trial, departing BA passengers are able to board international flights by simply having their photo taken at the gate, which is then matched against CBP records.
Participation is optional and passengers can choose to provide their passport and other documents to an agent to board the flight. To date, the response has been very positive with nearly 100% of travelers opting to use the biometric technology.
John Newsome, chief information officer, GOAA, said, “This innovative boarding process is already proving popular with passengers. They simply look at the camera and within seconds the gate opens and they can board the flight. It is easy, fast and most importantly, secure. While we are currently using SITA’s gates for biometric exit with BA, they are common-use boarding gates so they can be easily used by other airlines.”
Raoul Cooper, digital airport design manager, BA, said, “Our customers are always our first priority and we want to make their journey as smooth as possible. Working closely with SITA at Orlando has allowed us to explore various ways of incorporating the US biometric exit check.
“Together we have designed a really smooth and secure departure process for our customers, including children, as they leave Orlando. This complements the learning and insight we have gained in Los Angeles where a similar technology trial is under way.”
SITA provides self-service solutions at every step of the passenger journey from check-in to boarding at airports across the world. SITA Smart Path, which is in use in Brisbane Airport, Australia, provides a walkthrough experience from check-in to the aircraft door helping passengers fast-track through the airport.
Diana Einterz, SITA president, Americas, said, “Our integration of the automated boarding gates is being investigated with US CBP, BA and Orlando International Airport for speed and efficiency of passenger processing as they do accurate border checks. Our performance analysis of this trial will help all our partners evaluate how best they can use biometrics to meet their individual operational needs.”