Delta Air Lines has unveiled the first biometric terminal in the US at the international terminal of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport in Georgia.

The carrier announced the project in September, saying customers flying direct to an international destination on Delta or its partners Aeromexico, Air France, KLM or Virgin Atlantic could utilise facial recognition technology throughout the Maynard H Jackson International Terminal (Terminal F).

From December, passengers will be given the option to participate in a biometric check-in at self-service kiosks in the terminal. After they drop their bags at the counters, the data they provided at check-in will be used to verify their identity at the security checkpoint and to board the aircraft at any gate within the terminal.

In addition, passengers arriving into Atlanta on an international flight with Delta or one of its partners can go through US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) processing using their biometric data.

The scheme has been launched in partnership with CBP, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Delta says that since some biometric touch points started coming online in October, only 2 per cent of passengers have opted out of giving their data. It also claims initial results show the use of facial recognition technology saves each passenger an average of two seconds at boarding, or nine minutes for wide-body aircraft.

Gil West, COO of Delta, commented: “Delta’s successful launch of the first biometric terminal in the US at the world’s busiest airport means we are designing the airport biometric experience blueprint for the industry. We’re removing the need for a customer checking a bag to present their passport up to four times per departure – which means we’re giving customers the option of moving through the airport with one less thing to worry about, while empowering our employees with more time for meaningful interactions with customers.”

West said Delta plans to scale the end-to-end biometric airport terminal experience to its hub in Detroit in 2019. It will also expand its testing of facial recognition boarding technology at Detroit to all 14 international gates at the airport’s McNamara Terminal by mid-December.

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