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Newark, N.J., Airport Tests Facial Recognition for Boarding

The Newark Liberty International Airport is using facial recognition to verify passengers for boarding at a single gate in a new pilot program. The goal is to make boarding a smoother process.

Facial Recognition
Shutterstock/Fractal Pictures
(TNS) — The Port Authority is vying to make boarding an airplane a less tedious and stressful experience with a new pilot program at Newark Liberty International Airport.

The agency is piloting a biometric self-boarding e-gate at Terminal B. In order to board, passengers are only required to show their face.

"The passenger walks right up to the e-gate, which takes a biometric scan and confirms a passenger is OK to board," said Raymond Viggiano, international facility supervisor at the airport. "There's very little interaction needed there."

The program is being tested until Aug. 31 at Gate 62 in Terminal B before being assessed for potentially wider implementation, according to the Port Authority. The agency is working with EASIER and Idemia, two technology companies, and Lufthansa, which has integrated the e-gate into its departure control system.

The facial recognition system works with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to cross-reference images, according to the agency. The biometric picture taken before boarding must match the images in CBP's existing database, which all passport holders have already entered.

Once CBP sends confirmation, the airline deletes all scans within 12 hours, Viggiano said.

"The entire process takes seconds; it's that quick," he said. "It's just a really nice flow and passenger experience."

Until the pilot program ends, the Port Authority will continue to collect data comparing the speed of boarding with facial recognition — as measured by passengers per minute — with gates that have the traditional boarding procedure.

©2021 Staten Island Advance, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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