Lufthansa, Amadeus introduce biometric technologies to accelerate boarding

Amadeus has developed facial-recognition technology in partnership with Lufthansa that is now being used by the airline for boarding at Los Angeles International Airport.

Lufthansa reports that during an initial trial it was able to board 350 passengers onto an A380 plane in about 20 minutes.

The system uses facial-recognition cameras that capture a photo of the passenger’s face as he or she approaches the gates. The image is instantly and securely sent to the US Customs and Border Protection database for real-time matching and verification.

Once the match is made, within a few seconds, the system counts the passenger as “boarded,” and the person can walk onto the plane without needing to show a boarding pass or passport.

“The increasing need for airlines, airports and authorities to offer faster and more convenient processes for guests to move through the airport creates a unique opportunity for the use of biometrics,” says Bjoern Becker, Lufthansa’s senior director of product management for ground and digital services.

“Lufthansa strives to enhance the customer experience by applying advanced technologies and innovative solutions. This is a further step towards achieving that goal.”

The airline says it will introduce biometric boarding at other US airports following the pilot in Los Angeles.

The facial recognition capability is part of Amadeus’ passenger service system, Altéa. In its release, Lufthansa says the trial also will enable Amadeus to quickly offer biometric boarding to other airlines that use the Altéa technology.

Other partners in the project include US Customs and Border Protection, Los Angeles World Airports Authority and Vision Box.

“CBP is excited to work with air travel industry partners like Lufthansa to demonstrate how facial biometrics can provide a range of traveler benefits for a secure and seamless passenger experience,” says John Wagner, deputy executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In April 2017, British Airways began adding facial recognition technology to gates for domestic flights at Heathrow Airport, and in November it expanded the program to international flights from LAX.

Earlier this month British Airways added biometric boarding for outbound flights from Orlando International Airport and incoming flights to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Miami International Airport. In May 2017, JetBlue announced it was partnering with SITA and US Customs and Border Protection to test biometric boarding for flights between Boston and Aruba.

Amadeus is a leading provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel and tourism industry. The clients of this company include providers of services in the tourism and transportation sectors including airlines, hotels, railway, ferry companies, etc., travel services companies, namely travel agencies, tour operators, online agencies and business travel agencies and consumers of tourism services, as well as travelers.

Amadeus employs around 15,000 people around the world, including local offices and central divisions that support the company’s operations in 190 countries. In Madrid, Spain, there is a head office, in Nice, France – the Development Center, in Erding, Germany – the Data Processing Center. At the local level, the company has offices in 70 countries.

In 2017, Amadeus celebrated 30 years of its international business – 30 years of cooperation with customers, 30 years of technological innovation and 30 years of providing better quality travel for travelers around the world.

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