A biometric self-boarding gate has officially been launched at John F. Kennedy International Airport with the aim to “enhance customer experience and employee safety.”
Lufthansa has deployed the paperless, high-tech boarding process, which uses facial recognition technology to verify travellers with a photo capture, at its largest US gateway at the Queens airport.
Air France, Japan Airlines and Norwegian Airlines are expected to follow suit at the terminal, officials said.
“It’s become crucial for airports and airlines to adopt biometric capabilities along the processes which require interaction with the traveller, therefore enhancing and scaling operational capacity for growing quicker within their existing footprint,” said Miguel Leitmann, the CEO and founder of Vision-Box, which brought the new boarding method to Terminal 1 through a partnership with US Customs and Border Protection and Terminal One Group Association.
The digital boarding process validates the eligibility of a traveller without having to present a passport or boarding pass.
“At T4, we are always looking for ways to better serve our customers by integrating the latest innovations into our operations to further ensure a flawless travel experience,” said Roel Huinink, President and CEO of JFK International Air Terminal.
When a passenger approaches a self-boarding gate, a biometric-enabled camera integrated in the gate captures the passenger’s facial image.
That image is then securely sent to US Customs’ Traveller Verification Service, which “conducts a matching process with the stored digital facial token captured at the initial immigration process or from the US passport,” according to Vision-Box.
“Within seconds the system reconciles the passenger identity and his eligibility to enter the flight. The positive match of both verification’s triggers to open the eGate doors and the passenger can board the airplane.”
“We are excited to launch biometric boarding as an advanced tool to help improve the safety and security of our customers and the T4 community,” Roel Huinink continued.
“We look forward to continuing our work with CBP to deploy this innovative technology in new ways in the future.”
It’s not the first time biometric boarding has been used at JFK Airport.
Last year, JetBlue rolled out its first biometric self-boarding gate for customers flying to select international destinations at JFK Airport’s Terminal 5.