Three in four airline passengers support the use of biometrics to speed up airport processes

IATA airline passenger survey screenshot showing support for biometrics to speed up airport processes
QUEUE BUSTER: IATA’S 2021 Global Passenger Survey showed strong support for sharing biometric data

Nearly three quarters of airline passengers (73%) say they are willing to share their biometric data in order to speed up airport processes and reduce queuing at security, border control and boarding gates, according to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) survey.

This represents an increase of nearly 30 percentage points on the 46% of passengers who gave the same answer in 2019, IATA says.

The 2021 Global Passenger Survey also found that just over a third of respondents have experienced the use of biometric data while travelling (36%) and that, of these, 86% were “satisfied with the experience”.

“With additional document checks for Covid-19, processing time at airports is taking longer,” IATA says.

“Pre-Covid-19, the average passengers spent 1.5 hours in travel processes (check-in, security, border control, customs and baggage claim).

“Current data indicates that airport processing times have ballooned to three hours during peak time with travel volumes at only about 30% of pre-Covid-19 levels.

“The greatest increases are at check-in and border control (emigration and immigration) where travel health credentials are being checked mainly as paper documents.”

“Passengers have spoken and want technology to work harder, so they spend less time ‘being processed’ or standing in queues, and they are willing to use biometric data if it delivers that result,” adds IATA’s Nick Careen.

IATA revealed plans to launch a digital travel pass that enables passengers to verify their identity and health status in January. The digital pass is now being trialled by nearly 60 airlines worldwide, including Aer Lingus, Air France, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Emirates, Iberia, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and Qantas.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways joined the IATA travel pass pilot programme in May.

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