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Lufthansa Airlines introduces facial recognition at Miami International Airport

Miami International Airport (MIA) has introduced facial recognition technology for check-in and passport security on flights from Miami. Lufthansa Airlines is the first airline to replace boarding passes with cameras.

As part of the airport’s launch of biometric exit technology last week, passengers departing from MIA to Munich on Lufthansa flight 461 can board quickly by using the provided camera instead of having staff check travel documents.

Photo: Miami International Airport

Carlos Gimene, Mayor for Miami-Dade County, said: “Miami International Airport 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 the airport and enhance the level of customer service for its passengers.”

Through a partnership between MIA, Lufthansa, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and global air transport IT provider SITA, a photograph taken at Lufthansa’s boarding gate confirms passenger identity and their authorization to travel.

Dr Bjoern Becker, Lufthansa Group senior director of product management ground and digital services, said biometric boarding is an efficient and hassle-free form of travel that helps speed up the boarding process while also increasing security.

Lufthansa Airlines – photo credit: Star Alliance

According to CBP, the facial recognition verification process takes less than two seconds with a 99-percent success rate. MIA expects to launch biometric boarding with additional airlines this year. SITA and MIA have already partnered on several innovative travel experience solutions, including Mobile Passport Control and MIA Airport Official, the airport’s mobile app.

Diana Einterz, president of SITA Americas, said: “We have worked closely with the US CBP, airlines and airports to design a seamless biometric exit solution that meets the needs of all parties. SITA Smart Path is based on industry-standard common-use gates so it can be used by any other airline at MIA.”

The launch of biometric exit at MIA comes after the airport’s opening of America’s first all-biometric entry facility, in February 2018,  at Concourse E. This technology already screens all international arrivals via facial recognition.