Smiles all the way – British Airways passengers
SITA automated boarding gates speed passengers through boarding using secure biometrics
Passengers flying with British Airways from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to London Gatwick are enjoying a secure and seamless departure with new biometric boarding at the gate. A quick photo is all that is needed to board the international flight – no passport, no boarding card – thanks to innovative technology. SITA, the global air transport IT provider, integrated automated boarding gates with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and airline’s IT systems to allow the necessary checks and authorize boarding.
This is a joint initiative by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), British Airways and CBP to incorporate the US biometric departure (exit) check for passengers as smoothly as possible. SITA, using its extensive airline and airport expertise, has ensured fast and easy implementation for the airport and airline. By merging the usual boarding procedures with the CBP biometric exit check, SITA is delivering a smooth experience for passengers. A quick photograph taken at the gate is used to confirm passengers’ identities and authorization to travel.
John Newsome, Chief Information Officer, GOAA, said: “This innovative boarding process is already proving popular with passengers. They simply look at the camera and within seconds the gate opens and they can board the flight. It is easy, fast and most importantly, secure. While we are currently using SITA’s gates for biometric exit with British Airways, they are common-use boarding gates so they can be easily used by other airlines at MCO.”
Raoul Cooper, Digital Airport Design Manager, British Airways, said: “Our customers are always our first priority and we want to make their journey as smooth as possible. Working closely with SITA at Orlando has allowed us to explore various ways of incorporating the US biometric exit check. Together we have designed a really smooth and secure departure process for our customers, including children, as they leave Orlando. This complements the learning and insight we have gained in Los Angeles where a similar technology trial is under way.”
The option to board at Orlando by simply looking into a camera is available now to British Airways passengers on flight BA 2036 to London Gatwick. The trial will run for up to 90 days. Participation is optional and passengers can choose to provide their passport and other documents to an agent to board the flight. During the early days of the trial, the response from passengers has been very positive with nearly 100 percent of passengers opting to simply look in the camera and board the plane.
Diana Einterz, SITA President, Americas, said: “We are working closely with the US CBP, airlines and airports to test different ways of doing the US biometric exit check. This includes our recent award-winning work with JetBlue at Boston Logan International Airport, and British Airways at Los Angeles International Airport. We have designed this solution to meet the needs of all parties. It is based on industry-standard common-use gates so it can be used by any other airline at Orlando and by airlines at any other common-use airport.”
The use of biometrics is growing globally and SITA is a world-leader using biometrics to deliver secure seamless journeys for airline passengers. SITA Smart Path™, which is in use in Brisbane Airport, Australia, provides a walkthrough experience from check-in to the aircraft door helping passengers fast-track through the airport.
SITA provides self-service solutions at every step of the passenger journey from check-in to boarding at airports across the world. More than 165 airlines use SITA’s passenger processing applications while its common-use systems board more than 100 million passengers per year. Today, SITA provides border management solutions to more than 40 governments across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Einterz added: “SITA is the global provider to the air transport industry and we develop our solutions for airlines and airports so that they are scalable and work in multiple environments worldwide. Our integration of the automated boarding gates is being investigated with US CBP, British Airways and Orlando International Airport for speed and efficiency of passenger processing as they do accurate border checks. Our performance analysis of this trial will help all our partners evaluate how best they can use biometrics to meet their individual operational needs.”