US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has deployed new facial recognition biometric exit technology at William P. Hobby International Airport (HOU) in the US for certain flights departing from the airport.

Using flight manifests, CBP can now develop a gallery of photographs obtained from travel documents provided by passengers to airlines.

The US agency then compares the live photo of the passengers against their document photo in the gallery to ensure that the person is the real bearer of the document.

The live photo of the traveller captured at boarding needs to match with a US passport to confirm the passenger as a citizen of the nation.

“Through our consultations with the airlines and airport stakeholders, and based on the success of several pilots, CBP determined that facial recognition was a viable exit solution."

Once confirmed, the passenger is automatically determined to be out of scope for biometric exit purposes and the photo is discarded after a short period of time in order to protect the privacy of the customers.

CBP Office of Field Operations deputy executive assistant commissioner John Wagner said: “Through our consultations with the airlines and airport stakeholders, and based on the success of several pilots, CBP determined that facial recognition was a viable exit solution.

“With the expansion of this technology we will be looking at different flights, airports, lighting conditions, and internal information technology (IT) configurations to demonstrate to our stakeholders that this solution is flexible, reliable and easy for travellers to use.”

Recently, airlines such as Delta and JetBlue partnered with CBP to implement facial recognition technology as part of the boarding process that will allow their customers to self-board without the need of scanning a boarding pass.