Airline passengers want to use biometrics to ease travel

Airline passengers want to use biometrics to ease travel

IATA’s latest Global Passenger Survey shows travellers are ready to share their data

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the results of its 2021 Global Passenger Survey (GPS), which delivered the conclusion that passengers are willing to provide biometric data to expedite travel processes.

The GPS indicated that 73% of passengers are willing to share their biometric data to improve airport processes (up from 46% in 2019) and 88% will share immigration information prior to departure for expedited processing.

In addition, just over a third of passengers (36%) said that they have experienced the use of biometric data when travelling; of these, 86% were satisfied with the experience.

Data protection remains a key issue with 56% indicating concern about data breaches

The survey also indicated that 52% of passengers want clarity about where their data is being shared and how it is being used and processed.

IATA senior vice president for Operations, Safety and Security, Nick Careen said: “Passengers have spoken and want technology to work harder, so they spend less time ‘being processed’ or standing in queues. And they are willing to use biometric data if it delivers this result. Before traffic ramps up, we have a window of opportunity to ensure a smooth return to travel post-pandemic and deliver long-term efficiency improvements for passengers, airlines, airports and governments.”



The IATA has suggested that One ID could be used as a possible solution.  The initiative is helping transition the industry towards a day when passengers can move from curb to gate using a single biometric travel token such as a face, fingerprint or iris scan.

Airlines are strongly behind the initiative and the priority now is to ensure that there are regulations in place to support the vision of a paperless travel experience. One ID will not only make processes more efficient for passengers but also allow governments to utilise resources more effectively.

Careen added: “We cannot just revert to how things were in 2019 and expect our customers to be satisfied. Pre-pandemic we were preparing to take self-service to the next level with One ID. The crisis makes its twin-promise of efficiency and cost-savings even more urgent. And we absolutely need technologies like IATA Travel Pass to re-enable self-service or the recovery will be overwhelmed by paper document checks. The GPS results are yet another proof point that change is needed.”

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