This Australian airline wants to eliminate the need for passports

Brisbane Airport

It is keeping up with the airport tech game. Source: Shutterstock.

QANTAS, the flag carrier of Australia, has rolled out a month-long trial of facial recognition technology at Brisbane Airport, the primary international airport serving Brisbane and South East Queensland.

But unlike the previous trials where passengers had to enroll at a kiosk at the airport, passengers can submit their details from the comfort of their own home.

Qantas is partnering with Brisbane Airport and technology provider SITA to trial the system.

“Biometrics offer the potential for secure and seamless air travel. Qantas is the first airline to trial SITA Smart Path mobile in Brisbane and is showcasing the innovative collaboration that is required to incorporate this new technology across airlines, airports and security checks,” SITA President Asia Pacific Sumesh Patel explained.

“More than three quarters of airlines and airports are planning investments in biometric technologies over the next three years and Qantas’ trial will provide valuable passenger feedback to shape future implementations”, he added.

Brisbane Airport

Source: Shutterstock.

“Customers have told us that they want to move seamlessly through the airport without having to present travel documents at every stage of their airport experience”, Qantas Head of Product Strategy and Development Phil Capps said.

“What’s unique about this technology is it allows customers to securely store their passport details on their mobile phone which is matched to their face via cameras while moving through the airport. Digital recognition certainly has its advantages, but it will never replace the customer service that our team are renowned for and there will always be Qantas staff on hand to assist”, he added.

The catch, however, is that the trial does not include iPhones.

How does it work?

Before arriving at the airport, customers will need to upload their details from their biometric chip-equipped passport to the Qantas Facial Recognition App on their Android device.

At the airport, while passing through the lounge or at the boarding gate, their passport data is matched to their face via cameras. Thus, eliminating the need for passports and boarding passes.

Customers without bags can avoid going to the check-in desks or kiosks altogether.

The trial will run until early December with passenger feedback used to help Qantas prioritize future biometrics trials and investments.

It involves only passengers who have volunteered to take part and are traveling on flights from Brisbane to Singapore, Tokyo (Narita), and Hong Kong.