Hong Kong Airport now has facial recognition technology at its security gates

20 Sep 2018 by Craig Bright
Hong Kong International Airport e-Security Gates

Travellers going through Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) can now make use of new automated e-Security Gates powered by facial-recognition technology, cutting down the amount of time it takes for them to proceed through security to just 20 seconds.

Currently just four e-Security Gates are available to passengers, located in the Terminal 1 South Departure Hall prior to baggage scanning and immigration. Additional gates will be introduced in phases, however with a total of 44 to be introduced by the first quarter of 2019.

Hong Kong International Airport e-Security Gates

Eligible travellers can use the electronic gates to scan their documents and boarding passes, which are then verified by facial recognition technology using the gates’ embedded cameras. Currently airport security staff conducts this process manually.

No prior enrolment is required in order to be able to use the gates, and any passengers over the age of 11 that holds a valid electronic travel document is able to use the service.

“This new smart initiative will speed up and enhance the accuracy of the document checking process,” said Chris Au Young, general manager, smart airport for Airport Authority Hong Kong. “It also marks the first step in our efforts to streamline passenger boarding at HKIA by using biometrics.

“In the near future, HKIA will extend the use of biometrics and facial recognition to check-in and boarding procedures with the aim of using passengers’ faces for identity verification throughout their departure journey at HKIA, providing a seamless experience for travellers.”

HKIA has long provided automated gates at immigration for Hong Kong residents, which read their smart identity cards and scan fingerprints, however it has been slow to implement biometric screening, and facial-recognition technology in particular, across the rest of its security and immigration processes.

Regional rival Changi Airport in Singapore, meanwhile, opened its new Terminal 4 last year offering automated end-to-end processing across its check-in, security, immigration and boarding procedures, with facial recognition playing a key role.

Last year, HKIA began offering a “priority” security screening service known as Courtesy Channel for premium passengers and those with special needs.

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