Miami introduces facial recognition departures for Lufthansa flights

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Passengers departing from Miami International Airport to Munich on Lufthansa flight 461 can now board with the quick click of a camera instead of a boarding pass and passport after the airport launched biometric exit technology last week.

Through a partnership between MIA, Lufthansa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and global air transport IT provider SITA, a simple photograph taken at Lufthansa’s boarding gate is used to confirm passengers’ identities and their authorization to travel.

The facial recognition verification process takes less than two seconds with a 99 per cent matching rate, according to CBP. MIA expects to launch biometric boarding with additional airlines this year.

Miami-Dade County Mayor, Carlos A. Gimenez said: “MIA continues to explore innovative ways of streamlining and expediting the travel experience for visitors to our community.

“I look forward to seeing biometric exit technology expand throughout MIA and enhance the level of customer service for its passengers.”

Lufthansa Group senior director for product management ground & digital services, Bjoern Becker said Lufthansa “prides itself as being an industry leader and trendsetter in digitalization and innovation”, and biometric boarding is a large part of this category.

“Biometric boarding is an efficient and hassle-free form of travel that helps speed up the boarding process while also increasing security. We are thrilled to be the launch airline that introduces this technological advancement at MIA,” he added.

The launch of biometric exit at MIA follows the airport’s February 2018 opening of America’s first all-biometric entry facility at Concourse E, which screens all international arrivals via facial recognition. The facility has decreased processing times by as much as 80 per cent for participating airlines.

MIA director and chief executive officer, Lester Sola added: “Biometrics is one of the many approaches we are taking to modernise our airport infrastructure, to make the travel experience as seamless as possible.”

SITA and MIA have already partnered on a number of innovative travel experience solutions, including Mobile Passport Control and MIA Airport Official, the airport’s mobile app.