Lufthansa Group, as part of its ongoing efforts to digitalize the travel world, has launched hassle- free, one-step biometric boarding utilizing facial recognition, as promised in October 2017.
This innovative pilot, enabled through a collaboration with Lufthansa Group’s longstanding IT partner, Amadeus, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Los Angeles World Airports Authority (LAWA), and Vision Box, is now available at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). During initial trials, Lufthansa received very positive feedback from guests and boarded approximately 350 passengers onto an A380 in about 20 minutes.
Here is how it works:
- Self-boarding gates with sophisticated facial recognition cameras capture passengers’ facial images as they approach the device
- This image is securely sent to the CBP database for real-time matching and verification
- After a successful, instantaneous match within a few seconds, the system recognizes the passenger as “boarded”
- The passenger no longer needs to show a boarding pass or passport at the gate
“The increasing need for airlines, airports and authorities to offer faster and more convenient processes for guests to move through the airport creates a unique opportunity for the use of biometrics,” said Bjoern Becker, Senior Director, Product Management Ground and Digital Services for Lufthansa. “Lufthansa strives to enhance the customer experience by applying advanced technologies and innovative solutions. This is a further step towards achieving that goal.”
With ever-increasing passenger volumes and airport infrastructure limitations, biometrics are becoming a key element to speed up the airport process while ensuring passenger safety and security. In the U.S., airlines will not need to create and maintain their own biometric database as it can rely on data provided from a central source – the CBP – for exceptional efficiency and accuracy.
“CBP is excited to work with air travel industry partners like Lufthansa to demonstrate how facial biometrics can provide a range of traveler benefits for a secure and seamless passenger experience,” said John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Amadeus, the provider of Lufthansa’s Passenger Service System (Altéa) which includes the Altéa Departure Control solution, developed the biometric enhancement together with Lufthansa. Following a successful trial in Los Angeles, Lufthansa intends to expand the pilot program to additional U.S. gateways and other passenger touchpoints. The trial’s completion will also pave the way for other airlines using Amadeus’s Altéa technology to rapidly deploy biometrics boarding for their own passengers.
“Biometric boarding has enormous potential to make the travel experience easier and less stressful,” said Guido Haarmann, Managing Director, Central & Eastern Europe, Airlines, Amadeus. “Last year, over 1.6bn passengers boarded planes using Amadeus Altéa technology. Amadeus’ mission is to develop technology that creates better journeys for travelers worldwide, and it is a pleasure to be working with our established partner Lufthansa to bring this innovative technology to market.”
“We anticipate that in near time, biometric boarding, as well as other aspects of the air travel experience, will be widely utilized across the U.S. and beyond,” concluded Lufthansa’s Bjoern Becker.
The Lufthansa Group is the world’s biggest airline group in in terms of revenue, and is also the market leader in Europe’s airline sector. The Group strives to be the “First Choice in Aviation” for its customers, employees, shareholders and partners. And safety, quality, reliability and innovation are the prime credentials and priorities of all its business activities. The Lufthansa Group is divided into the three strategic areas of Hub Airlines, Point-to-Point Business and Service Companies. The Group’s network carriers, with their premium brands of Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines, serve its home market from their Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Vienna hubs. With its Eurowings brand, the Group also offers short- and long-haul point-to-point services in the growing private travel market. And with its service companies, which are all global market leaders in their individual industries, the Lufthansa Group has found success in further areas of the aviation business.
The Lufthansa Group’s airlines currently (Summer Schedule) serve 343 destinations in 103 countries on four continents and offer 15,415 weekly frequencies. The Group’s total fleet comprises some 728 aircraft and its member airlines will be taking delivery of 174 new aircraft between now and 2025. In 2017, the Lufthansa Group employed around 130,000 personnel, welcomed 130 million passengers aboard its flights and generated sales of around EUR 35.6 billion.
The Lufthansa Group is headed by its five-member Executive Board. Carsten Spohr is Chairman & CEO; Thorsten Dirks is in charge of Eurowings and aviation services; Harry Hohmeister bears responsibility for the commercial management of the Group’s hub airlines and airports; Ulrik Svensson is head of finance and IT; and Dr. Bettina Volkens is in charge of HR and legal affairs. For further information please visit www.lufthansagroup.com.