Jamaican authorities say they plan to introduce a biometric system for passenger checks at the Sangster International Airport (SIA) in the coming winter. In Singapore, a similar system is already in place, and performing well enough that legislators are considering eliminating passport checks.
The Montego Bay Jamaica (MBJ) Airports Limited Chief Executive Officer Shane Munroe made the announcement recently, saying the novelty is intended to facilitate boarding and bag-drop processes for passengers travelling through the SIA as well as enhance checkpoint security, Jamaica Gleaner reports.
With the system, passengers will be able to check in from their mobile devices before proceeding to biometric kiosks installed at different counters in the airport for identity verification.
“Biometrics is going to be a new frontier for us this year,” said Monroe, who also explained that the self-bag drop system will enable passengers move through the various check processes faster.
The project also includes the introduction of boarding gates. “Passengers will be able to board their flight with biometrics, and that’s something that’s very cutting-edge. It’s really a pilot project, not yet implemented in many airports globally,” the official said.
Apart from the technology, a major infrastructure plan to facilitate movements in and out of the airport has also been unveiled.
Jamaica has been planning the deployment of face biometrics at SIA since before the pandemic.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Singapore are examining proposed changes to the country’s Immigration Act which will make checkpoint biometric screening possible even without passports. The Ministry of Home Affairs has proposed the changes, which would allow it to share information with the airport operator for specific uses.
According to Channel News, the amendments will introduce many other changes aimed at better controlling Singaporean borders and enhance the management of passes and permits for visitors and permanent residents.
As part of the proposal, permits and passes will be accepted in digital format to check immigration status, unlike now that only physical copies are accepted.
Singapore’s Changi Airport uses iris biometrics in addition to face.