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Session Summary - The Passenger Journey of the Future

The Future is Biometrics

Demand for air travel is growing. Current infrastructure and ways of doing business will not be able to meet this demand and building ever bigger airports will not be possible. More efficient and effective ground processes must be implemented into the passenger journey. That was the consensus of World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President and CEO Gloria Guevara and Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths during a discussion on travel facilitation at the IATA AGM.

Both agreed that biometric technology is emerging as a solution to overcome this challenge. It has the power to unlock capacity while ensuring security. Passengers will also benefit. Using a single biometric token, they will no longer have to repeatedly present travel documents and boarding passes to multiple stakeholders at different stages of their journey. Instead they will be able to book transportation, check-in, proceed through security, cross borders, board aircraft, collect baggage, rent a car, check in and out of hotels, and access myriad destination services, simply by confirming their identity and booking data.

WTTC is addressing this challenge through their Seamless Traveller Journey Programme, an ambitious initiative to bring together public and private sectors with technology providers to agree on models which are globally interoperable, technology agnostic and cover the end-to-end journey.
Dubai International Airport is trialing this technology through its ‘smart tunnel’ that uses biometric technology to allow some air travelers to go through passport control in just 15 seconds. Complementing both initiatives is IATA’s One ID project.

The vision is clear and the technology exists to support its development. But lack of industry cooperation is holding back progress. A solution can only be achieved by working collaboratively across national boundaries and in partnership between private companies and governments.

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