Orlando Airport First to Add Facial Recognition

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOrlando International Airport (MCO) has become the first airport in the United States to add facial recognition technology to its automated passport control (APC) kiosks.

The technology is part of new requirement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The APC kiosks are meant to verify people’s identities by matching their faces to the biometric data in the newer passports with a 99.7% successful match rate. The APC kiosks take a snapshot of each traveler’s face and compare the image with biometric record in their e-passports.

The technology is supplied by SITA, the global provider of border security and IT solutions to governments, airlines and airports.

The APC kiosks have become a regular feature at US airports over the past years. SITA has installed more than 300 at some of the nation’s busiest airports with hundreds more currently on order. In June, the Customs and Border Protection updated the requirements for APC kiosks at US borders and they include facial recognition capability.

Orlando Airport is currently undergoing a $1.3bn expansion that would replace check-in counters with smaller kiosks. In addition, a new parking garage and a train terminal will be added.

More than 36.4 million passengers are being served at the airport annually. The number is expected to increase to 38.5 million passengers in 2016.

Paul Houghton, SITA Americas President says that almost 500 million e-passports have now been issued globally and these kiosks are “a welcome addition to arrival areas and have helped reduce lines by as much as 40%.”

Airports in Boston, Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles are also using facial recognition kiosks. However, Orlando Airport is the first to make the transition since the CBP’s new regulations were announced. Along with its work with Orlando Airport, SITA is currently supporting other airports to meet the CBP requirements of making the kiosks available to more passengers.