Brisbane Airport has begun trialling facial recognition technology in what it describes as an “Australian first trial” of the biometric system.

Developed in partnership with SITA and Air New Zealand, the SITA Smart Path will enable travellers to check in at self-service kiosks before going to automated boarding gates, where facial recognition technology will be used for identity verification before boarding. Travellers using the system will not need to present a boarding pass, passport or travel documents when boarding after these have been linked to the biometric at check-in.

“This is a great opportunity for passengers to help shape the future of travel,” said Roel Hellemons, general manager strategic planning and development for Brisbane Airport Corporation. “A key benefit of working with SITA is its technology integrates with our existing common-use infrastructure – check-in kiosks and boarding gates – and can be used by any airline that operates on a common-use kiosk.”

As the partner carrier, Air New Zealand will be the first airline to trial the Smart Path. Brisbane Airport plans to extend the service to additional international airlines in the coming months, while also aiming to expand the technology to encompass additional processes. “As we progress we hope to integrate with various government systems for immigration and border checks,” said Hellemons.

According to SITA, more than 165 airlines use its passenger processing applications and common-use systems to board more than 100 million passengers each year.

“Australia has long been recognised as a leader in secure border management and passenger processing,” said SITA president, Asia-Pacific, Sumesh Patel. “Now Brisbane Airport is leading the way with SITA Smart Path. This is a single, secure, self-service process which simplifies passenger processing for everyone – airlines, airports and border authorities. It is early days at Brisbane Airport but already the response from passengers has been positive.”