Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has partnered with information technology company SITA, to trial the use of facial biometrics in order to check in cabin crew at the airlines Crew Briefing Centre at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Facial Recognition Technology
The trial will use facial recognition technology to identify and authenticate crew members, allowing them to complete check-in procedures and mandatory pre-flight safety and security questions digitally via their own mobile devices. The new initiative will replace the current kiosk-based check-in process which requires crew to use their staff identity cards as a form of authentication.
Etihad & Innovative Solutions
Captain Sulaiman Yaqoobi, Vice President Flight Operations, Etihad Aviation Group said: “Etihad is constantly on the lookout for innovative solutions and new technologies that will drive improvements in the airline’s operations and enhance the experience for guests and employees.”
Captain Yaqoobi said that Etihad is excited to partner with SITA to explore the potential that facial biometric services has for the aviation industry. “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,” he said.
Facial Biometric Technology
As part of the airline’s digitalisation strategy, facial biometric technology is expected to improve operational efficiency by speeding up the existing check-in process and automating crew time and attendance management and access controls. Cabin crew will also experience a seamless and contactless check-in experience.
SITA Smart Path
Roger Nakouzi, Vice President Sales, SITA added: “We are proud to partner with Etihad to design and implement a secure biometric system that offers a smarter and more efficient working environment for crew while solving a key operational challenge of the pandemic by reducing contact points.”
SITA has extensive experience in both mobile and biometric technology solutions having developed and implemented SITA Smart Path at airports globally, enabling a seamless, low touch passenger experience while increasing airport efficiencies, Mr. Nakouzi said.
Cabin Crew Trials To Continue
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.
SITA On The Job
A report in The Economic Times said that SITA was working with industry partners to assist them in leveraging existing infrastructure and systems to adapt to a post-COVID environment, supporting an economically viable return to the skies. SITA has been rapidly rolling out new solutions that addressed the above challenges, complementing short term hygiene measures such as the use of masks and gloves.
SITA is helping reduce the risk of infection by avoiding contact at key touchpoints. Using a combination of biometric and mobile solutions, passengers no longer have to touch a kiosk or surface, managing their journey from their phone.
Even before the pandemic, SITA was working with different airports in India to enable a ‘Low Touch’ airport experience for domestic air travel. As an example, Mumbai International airport uses Airport Management System (AMS), Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE), Common Use Self Service (CUSS) Kiosk, Baggage Reconciliation System (BRS), Self Bagdrop and E-gates to help better manage passenger flow. SITA also manages CUTE, CUSS, and BRS at 45 Airports Authority of India airports.
One of the emerging trends from the crisis is the role and importance of technology which will be fundamental in helping airlines and airports become compliant with new and fast-changing regulations and help to restore passenger confidence in flying.
Biometrics For Passengers
Biometrics for Better Travel: An Identity Management Revolution combines SITA’s global research with commentary and cases studies from airports, airlines and global entities that are exploring and adopting biometric technology to transform the passenger experience. Those featured include Brisbane Airport, British Airways, JetBlue and Orlando International Airport along with industry perspectives from the International Airline Travel Association (IATA).