Star Alliance has partnered with NEC Corporation to develop a biometric data-based identification platform in an effort to improve the travel experience for frequent flyers.

Once implemented, Star Alliance customers who opt-in to biometrics will be able to pass through curb-to-gate touchpoints within airports, including check-in kiosks, bag drop, lounges and boarding gates. The technology will enable passengers to avoid having to present their passport and boarding pass throughout their journey, though they may be required to show these documents during security and immigration procedures.

Star Alliance says the initiative will be powered by a secure identity management solution featuring facial recognition technology.

According to the alliance, the technology will streamline the passenger journey and help its member airlines to improve operational efficiency.

The service will be available to customers who are enrolled in one of the Star Alliance frequent flyer programmes and who have authorised the use of their biometric data.

Passengers will be able to enrol in the new programme via their mobile device and they will only need to sign up to the platform once to use their biometrics multiple times throughout their journey.

Star Alliance says personal data such as photo and identification details will be encrypted and stored safely within the platform. The alliance and NEC have designed the technology in compliance with data protection laws, with data only processed with the consent of the passenger.

The partnership aims to introduce the first biometric solution at a Star Alliance airport hub by the first quarter of 2020.

Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance, said: “In NEC, we have found a strong partner who shares our vision of a seamless travel experience for air travellers. At Star Alliance we are committed to making the customer journey better, and this strategic partnership with NEC will help us make the way from curb to gate to aircraft a much simpler yet innovative experience for our customers.”

NEC Corporation president and chief executive Takashi Niino added: “NEC is pleased to join forces with Star Alliance to bring an improved cross-terminal customer experience. Facial recognition is truly revolutionising the airline industry and making flying more enjoyable, just as it was always intended. In support of this partnership, similar to our implementations in the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, NEC will mobilise its global resources and provide local assistance to each of the member airlines to leverage this secure, interoperable platform and rapidly bring our common vision to reality.”

The partnership is part of Star Alliance’s investment in technology, which has so far seen the launch of the new Connection Service and a digital services platform that allows customers to access a range of member airlines’ services through each other’s apps.

staralliance.com; nec.com

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