Sydney Airport has begun trialling new biometric technology with launch partner Qantas that enables passengers to check-in, drop off bags, access the lounge and board via automated systems using facial recognition technology.
Describing the biometrics trial as the most extensive of its kind yet, Sydney Airport CEO, Geoff Culbert, said the move was part of the airport’s overall plans to “deliver a full ‘couch-to-boarding gate’ facial recognition process”. Mobile check-in and automated border processing have also been proposed for future trials.
“In the future, there will be no more juggling passports and bags at check-in and digging through pockets or smartphones to show your boarding pass – your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process,” Culbert added.
Qantas’s chief customer officer, Vanessa Hudson, meanwhile said that there was an “increasing need” for airlines and airports to deliver quicker and more efficient experiences at the airport.
“Qantas customers will not only be able to check in for their flight using the technology, it is also available for our lounge staff who can create a more personalised experience when passengers arrive,” said Hudson.
Currently only Qantas passengers on select international flights are able to make use of these systems during the trial.
Sydney Airport is not alone in exploring biometric technology. Last year, Brisbane Airport ran its own facial recognition trial with self-service kiosks and automated boarding gates.
Meanwhile, Changi Airport’s Terminal 4 building opened last October with an end-to-end fully automated departure process through its Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) system, which similarly employs facial recognition technology for check-in, immigration and boarding.
Qantas, meanwhile, is set to begin revamping its Sydney Airport lounge in the third quarter of this year, with the facility expected to be fully renovated by the end of 2019.