Air Canada trials facial recognition technology

22 Feb 2023 by Hannah Brandler
Air Canada Facial Recognition Technology (CNW Group/Air Canada)

Air Canada has become the first airline in Canada to trial facial recognition technology to confirm passengers’ identification.

The digital verification is available for customers departing from Vancouver International airport when boarding select flights to Winnipeg, and also to enter the Air Canada Cafe at Toronto Pearson International airport.

Eligible customers will receive an invitation to use the paperless option, which will include instructions on how to create their secure digital faceprint via the Air Canada app prior to arriving at the airport. See a video below for further details.

This is a voluntary service, with passengers able to use a boarding pass and government-issued photo ID for manual checks should they not want to take part in the trial.

The airline plans to expand the use of facial recognition technology to further airports and the carrier’s Maple Leaf Lounges.

Craig Landry, executive vice president and chief operations officer at Air Canada, commented:

“Many of our customers already utilise digital credentials to simplify their daily activities such as unlocking mobile phones, entering workplaces, verifying identification during financial transactions and more.

“We are very excited to now take a leadership position in Canada and test digital identification using facial recognition technology to validate customer identification quickly, securely and accurately at select airport touchpoints.”

Omar Alghabra, minister of transport – Government of Canada, added:

“Air Canada’s pilot project will speed up processes at YVR, and other airports where it’s established, while respecting robust privacy measures and security standards. This project has great potential in making gate boarding easier and faster for Canadian passengers, while maintaining strong safety measures.”

At the end of last year Air New Zealand introduced biometric facial recognition verification at its boarding gates at Los Angeles airport, while British Airways is trialling biometric technology for international flights.

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