A man with a suitcase holding a passport and boarding pass.

Brisbane Airport Launches Biometrics Check-In and Boarding Trial

Brisbane Airport has launched a facial recognition trial with Air New Zealand, to allow passengers to board their plane through an automated boarding gate.

Under the Australian-first trial using SITA Smart Path technology, passengers present their details at a self-service kiosk at check-in. Once travel documents are linked to their biometrics at check-in, the passenger can complete the boarding process without needing to present a boarding pass, passport or travel documents.

Air New Zealand passengers are the first to trial Smart Path at Brisbane Airport, with plans to expand the service to more international airlines in coming months.

Brisbane Airport Corporation general manager of strategic planning and development Rod Hellemons said the trial was a chance for passengers to help shape the future of travel.

“We’re always striving to improve the airport experience at Brisbane Airport and this trial will allow us to test and refine new technology that we hope will make standard check-in and boarding processes more efficient and secure in the very near future,” Mr Hellemons said.

“A key benefit of working with SITA is its technology integrates with our existing common-use infrastructure – check-in kiosks and boarding gates – and can be used by any airline that operates on a common-use kiosk,” he said.

“As we progress, we hope to integrate with various government systems for immigration and border checks.”

The trial follows news reports in January that the Australian Government planned to use facial recognition technology to replace passports under the Seamless Traveller project.

The Government hopes to automate 90 per cent of air traveller processing by 2020, with international passengers moving through immigration and customs without stopping or having to show incoming passenger cards or passports, in a ‘contactless’ system.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection sought tenders in January for companies to provide the automated processing solution. Commencement of services with the successful tenderer was estimated to start in May this year.

* Featured image: Passports and boarding passes could become a thing of the past. Image: Getty


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Renae Spinks

Travel for me is about conversations and connections. There’s nothing like setting foot in a new land and meeting people a world apart. From talking to North Sea fishermen in Norway’s Lofoten Islands to breakfast chat at a B&B in my own back yard, there’s always a story to share and a tale to tell.