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Frankfurt becomes first airport in Europe to offer facial recognition to all airlines

Frankfurt Airport has become the first European airport to offer biometric check-in and boarding to all partner airlines.

The Fraport-owned facility has worked with aviation technology specialist SITA to introduce facial recognition biometrics.

The technology uses NEC’s Smart Path biometric solution which allows the passengers’ face to become their passport.

SITA said this offers biometric touchpoints to all airline passengers, enabling streamlined, frictionless passage throughout airports.

Passengers securely register in seconds on their mobile device through the Star Alliance biometric app or directly at the check-in kiosk with their biometric-enabled passports.

Once registered, passengers pass through the facial recognition-equipped checkpoints without showing any physical documents.

The new technology is already in use by more than 12,000 passengers at check-in, boarding pass control, and boarding gates.

Dr Pierre Dominique Prümm, Fraport executive director aviation and infrastructure, said: “Together with Lufthansa and the Star Alliance airlines, we have been offering this innovative service since 2020, an experience – with the help of SITA and NEC – which will now be extended to all airlines.

“We are the first European airport to offer all passengers a contactless and convenient passenger journey using biometrics. Our goal for the coming months is to equip at least 50% of all check-in kiosks, pre-security, and boarding gates with the new and pioneering technology.”

David Lavorel, SITA chief executive, added: “We have seen that the more we can automate the passenger journey in the airport, the better the experience.

“Biometric touchpoints significantly speed up the mandatory steps in the airport, giving passengers more time to relax before the flight rather than waiting in line.

“We know from our research that where biometrics are introduced, more than 75% of passengers will gladly use them. Therefore, we are pleased to bring the benefits of a faster airport journey to Frankfurt Airport.”

SITA’s biometric solution leverages the NEC I:Delight digital identity management platform,  which has been ranked as the world’s most accurate face recognition technology by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Naoki Yoshida, corporate senior vice president of NEC, said: “As a pioneering biometrics technology partner of Star Alliance and SITA, we are proud to be able to support Fraport’s innovative and ground-breaking approach to streamlining passenger facilitation by creating a seamless travel experience throughout one of Europe’s most important gateways for travel.”

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