Air transport IT provider SITA has installed automated boarding gates at Orlando International Airport with the help of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to support required checks and authorise boarding for passengers.

The implementation of biometric boarding gates at the airport was a joint initiative by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), British Airways (BA) and CBP.

“They simply look at the camera and within seconds the gate opens and they can board the flight.”

Prior to full deployment, the technology is being tested at the airport for a period of three months, during which departing British Airways passengers could board international flights by allowing a camera to take their photo at the gate and match it against CBP records.

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority chief information officer John Newsome said: “This innovative boarding process is already proving popular with passengers. They simply look at the camera and within seconds the gate opens and they can board the flight.

“It is easy, fast and most importantly, secure. While we are currently using SITA’s gates for biometric exit with BA, they are common-use boarding gates so they can be easily used by other airlines at MCO.”

SITA stated that participation is optional and travellers can opt to provide their passport and other documents to an agent to board the flight.

So far, passengers’ response has been positive with nearly 100% of travellers opting to use the biometric technology.

British Airways digital airport design manager Raoul Cooper said: “Our customers are always our first priority and we want to make their journey as smooth as possible. Working closely with SITA at Orlando has allowed us to explore various ways of incorporating the US biometric exit check.

“Together we have designed a really smooth and secure departure process for our customers, including children, as they leave Orlando. This complements the learning and insight we have gained in Los Angeles where a similar technology trial is underway.”