Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways is investing in facial recognition technology to speed up the check-in process of its crew and limit the spread of coronavirus.
The airline announced on Tuesday that it has partnered with information technology company SITA to trial the use of facial biometrics for its staff at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
It is expected to replace the current kiosk-based check-in process which requires crew to use their staff identity cards as a form of authentication, as well as reduce touchpoints.
In a statement, Etihad said the trial will be conducted until early next year, hinting that it may later explore the possibility of using the same technology for its wider customers, particularly during check-in and boarding.
“The trial will continue until February 2021 and will provide the airline with invaluable data to explore future exploration of biometric technology for use in guest operations, such as check-in and boarding,” Etihad said.
The new screening system will enable crew members to authenticate their identity, complete check-in procedures and mandatory pre-flight safety and security questions digitally via their own mobile devices.
“By integrating contactless technology, biometric services will increase efficiency while simultaneously cementing our commitment to reducing the spread of COVID-19 by limiting physical touch points and maximising social distancing measures,” said captain Sulaiman Yaqoobi, vice president for flight operations at Etihad Aviation Group.
Roger Nakouzi, vice president for sales at SITA, said the biometric system is secure and offers a “smarter and more efficient working environment” for the airline’s staff “while solving a key operational challenge of the pandemic by reducing contact points”.
(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)
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