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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, thanks to the airport’s launch of biometric exit technology last week.
“MIA continues to explore innovative ways of streamlining and expediting the travel experience for visitors to our community,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “I look forward to seeing biometric exit technology expand throughout MIA and enhance the level of customer service for its passengers.”
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-percent matching rate, according to CBP. MIA expects to launch biometric boarding with additional airlines this year.
“Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S., using a variety of techniques to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong,” said CBP Miami Port Director Christopher Maston. “Collaboration with our Miami-Dade County, Lufthansa and SITA partners has resulted in real momentum toward enhancing both traveler safety and convenience at MIA. This has helped make the path forward in the implementation of a biometric entry-exit system that will transform travel for all flyers.”
“Lufthansa prides itself as being an industry leader and trendsetter in digitalization and innovation, and biometric boarding is a large part of this category,” said Dr. Bjoern Becker, Lufthansa Group Senior Director Product Management Ground & Digital Services. “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.”
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, which has decreased processing times by as much as 80 percent for participating airlines, was chosen from among 80 nominations worldwide as the 2018 International Airport Review Award winner in the Passenger Experience and Seamless Travel category.
“We are proud to partner with CBP and SITA to provide this cutting-edge technology for Lufthansa passengers at MIA,” said Lester Sola, MIA Director and CEO. “Biometrics is one of the many approaches we are taking to modernize 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.
“This is another great success at MIA where we have teamed up to improve the passenger experience through innovation,” said Diana Einterz, SITA President, Americas. “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.”