Biometric Security in Airports: How Will It Change the Airport Space?

With millions of people boarding flights every day, customer data and experiences are the most important elements to the travel industry. As airports increasingly ramp up to meet the digital age, they are more prone to cyberattacks and data breaches. One such incident occurred when Heathrow airport was fined £120,000 when they lost sensitive data stored on a memory stick, which included the Queen’s travel history and passport numbers.

To prevent such data leaks in the future and avoid heavy fines, airports are constantly evolving and adapting biometric security in airports.

Why Are Biometrics Used in Airports?

The technology associated with air travel has advanced considerably in recent years. Biometrics for airports have provided passengers with a faster, safer end-to-end experience. It may go unnoticed at first but biometric technology is used widely in airports. Be it filling your visa application from the comfort of your home or automated barrier control at the airports. 

Biometrics for airports can provide a contactless experience using facial recognition for the ease of passengers and to meet growing concerns around health concerns with contact methods. Biometric technology can identify individuals, measuring dozens of physical attributes, such as fingerprint, voice recognition, and facial recognition, among others. 

Man standing in airport - biometric security in airports

Biometrics for airports can be used for security checks, luggage, boarding, and check-in facilities. Implementing biometrics at airports helps automate the verification process, and sharing a digital identity can expedite the immigration process.

Benefits of Using Biometric for Airports

Biometric authentication and its use cases in the travel industry and airports provide several advantages including:

High Security

Biometrics provide increased levels of security to the airlines that the person is truly who they claim to be. The identification is done by tangible and real-world traits that relate to the passenger. Nearly any username, passwords, and PINs can be compromised, and a data breach can leak sensitive information to the hackers. 

Improved User Experience

The internal implementation of biometric technology may be difficult, but it provides a smooth user experience to passengers at the airport. Placing a finger on a scanner and getting border access is much easier and fast than going through the long processes of physical verification. 

Non-Transferable and Unique

Every individual has a unique set of biometrics which are impossible to duplicate with current technology. Also, biometrics are not transferable. The only way to access biometric data at airports is through the physical application. 

4 Biometric Technologies Used at Airports

There are currently four biometric technologies being used at airports. These include:

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition identifies facial features such as distance between eyes, eye shape, nose shape, and more, through stored facial patterns and data to find a match. Facial recognition enhances security, is contactless, and is easy to integrate. 

Fingerprint Recognition

Fingerprint recognition automatically identifies someone based on a comparison between a stored and live fingerprint. Fingerprint recognition is one of the most popular biometrics and is being implemented at airports all over the world. 

Iris Recognition

Iris scanning or iris recognition is the process of using infrared light to take a high contrast image of your iris. Similar to fingerprints, iris patterns are unique to each individual and provide exceptional accuracy. Iris recognition is another contactless biometric method which is considered to be one of the most accurate.

Palm Recognition

Palm recognition evaluates the unique patterns and characteristics in the palms of an individual’s hands. The systems use a scanning device that processes data from a digital photo of an individual’s hand and compares it to the stored biometric template in the database. Many airports have started deploying palm recognition as a part of their authentication processes. 

Biometric Solutions for Airports with Imageware

Imageware develops identity solutions that can provide comprehensive and easy-to-use applications to create inviolable photo identification and access credentials. With Imageware’s solutions, you can strengthen your biometric security for airports by:

  • Tracking employee data
  • Identify and verify credential holders through biometrics
  • Access control systems for seamless flow