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The biometric facial comparison technology ‘Simplified Arrival’ has now been expanded to all international airports in the United States according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

As passenger numbers rocket, airports and airlines are struggling to cope. Toronto Pearson’s boss is calling on Ottawa to allow changes including more biometrics, Nashville launched TSA PreCheck enrolment in partnership with Idemia I&S and Frankfurt hopes for more efficient staffing with data from a pilot of Zwipe Access for staff. In the U.S., international arrivals should be handled more efficiently as Simplified Arrivals rolls out.

Simplified Arrival biometrics now at all international US airports

The biometric facial comparison technology Simplified Arrival has now been expanded to all international airports in the United States according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Simplified Arrival uses facial analysis software (not facial recognition) to compare the photo of the international passenger taken when they arrive in the U.S. with a photo provided in the passport submitted in advance or from another file held by the government. It is an automation of the otherwise manual check, although the border officer still examines the passport.

The comparison technology is more than 98 percent accurate, according to CBP. This means that of the almost 80 million international visitors in 2019, there would be upwards of 1.5 million errors. Those who cannot be matched simply go through the traditional inspection route.

More than 171 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison so far across air, land and sea ports of entry. More than 1,450 people have been prevented from entering the U.S. travelling on real passports that are not their own.

The news is seen by CBP as a significant milestone towards Congress’s mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of every non-U.S. citizen, and complements biometric boarding which is also expanding. Implementation has been achieved through public/private partnerships and accelerated with the pandemic.

“The use of facial biometrics for identity verification brings travelers one step closer to a truly touchless process that is secure and streamlines travel while protecting their privacy and enhancing the customer experience,” said Diane J. Sabatino, deputy executive assistant commissioner, Office of Field Operations at CBP, commenting on the milestone.

CBP biometrics have been implemented beyond continental U.S. at Guam and Saipan airports as well as pre-clearance for passengers coming from Canadian airports.

Toronto Pearson airport calls for more biometrics to tackle passenger lines

As with airports across Europe and the U.S., Canada’s airports are struggling to deal with surging passenger numbers as airports and airlines try to restaff. In Canada, it is Toronto Pearson airport that is worst affected, reports The Globe and Mail, and its chief, Deborah Flint, is calling on the government to change screening rules to speed up passenger processing ahead of numbers rising by 50 percent for the summer.

Flint is calling for the dropping of some of the COVID-19 checks, enabling further capabilities for the ArriveCan travel app to avoid lines at kiosks, using biometrics to identify trust travelers and speed up their check-ins, as well as other technology such as scanning luggage without having to remove electronics, according to the report.

One hundred and twelve thousand passengers were forced to wait on parked planes before disembarkation in the week ended 22 May, up 12,000 on the week before, according to Flint.

Zwipe biometric cards put into use for staff at Frankfurt Airport

Further details have emerged on Fraport AG’s use of Zwipe biometrics for its ‘Biometrics@Controllane’ project, as announced in March. Zwipe and another unnamed partner were picked to explore new ways to control secure access for airport staff.

Airport Technology reports that Zwipe Access solutions – which use card-based fingerprint biometrics – will be fitted at 40 checkpoints around Frankfurt Airport to add a second layer of authentication.

This is the same approach as the Zwipe Pay biometric payment cards, activated by an on-card fingerprint sensor when held over a contactless card reader. Instead of a payment, it generates an access code. Everything happens on the card, meaning no further biometric readers are needed at access points and existing card readers can be used. A lost card cannot be used by anyone else.

Zwipe says it has reduced the biometric authentication process down to one second, six times faster than any alternative systems.

A recent report by SITA found that airports are expecting to increase spending on IT, with the majority surveyed planning to invest in biometrics.

Nashville gets TSA PreCheck enrollment with Idemia

Nashville International Airport (BNA) is to launch on-site TSA PreCheck enrollment with the authorized provider, Idemia Identity & Security, in early June.

Passengers can register as they depart and do not need an appointment for the process generally completed in under five minutes. They receive their Known Traveler Number in the next three to five days for use on subsequent trips such as the flight home.

“This service has proven popular with travelers at the airports where we have piloted this new option and now those traveling to and from Nashville can enroll easily right at the airport,” comments Donnie Scott, CEO of Idemia Identity & Security.

As more people hope to fly as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the service’s benefits become more apparent.

“Throughout the month of April, 94 percent of TSA PreCheck passengers wait less than 5 minutes in security checkpoint lines and avoiding having to take off their shoes and belts and can leave their compliant liquids and laptops in their bags,” comments Stephen Wood, TSA Federal Security Director, Tennessee.

Article: Simplified Arrival biometrics in place for all international air passenger arrivals to US

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