Hamad International Airport (HIA), Qatar, has begun the second phase of its Smart Airport programme as part of its efforts to provide an enhanced journey experience to passengers through facial biometric recognition.

Currently in the trial phase, this digital system combines passport, passenger flight and facial biometric information into one electronic record, right at self-check-in kiosk.

The system verifies a passenger’s face at the self-service bag-drop, the automated boarding gate and automated security gate.

HIA chief operating officer engr Badr Mohammed Al Meer was quoted by MENAFN – The Peninsula as saying: “In line with our vision and strategic plan, we continue to invest in customer-centric innovative technology to provide fast, seamless and enjoyable travel experience to be the airport of choice for our discerning customers.

“Our approach to identity management is unique and holistic, in that we foresee wide-scale deployment of biometric capability across both mandated and voluntary passenger touch points while addressing customer data privacy concerns in line with relevant local and international regulations.”

The first phase of Smart Airport was claimed to be successful with nearly 20% of Qatar Airways’ passengers opting for self-check-in, with another 20% choosing the self-bag-drop facility.

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Deployment of the system is claimed to have improved the passenger experience without the requirement for the airport to opt for a physical expansion of the check-in facilities.

It also enables passengers to have complete control of their journey at the airport – right from their arrival to departure.

The Smart Airport programme helps to optimise operations with proper utilisation of resources and assets. For instance, the Service Delivery Measurement system helps in real-time monitoring of passenger wait times, which in turn enables airport authorities to take tactical decisions on the deployment of additional resources if the wait time exceeds certain targets.