A new report predicts the number of biometrically-enabled passenger touchpoints in airports will rise to almost 51,000 by 2030 – up from 12,079 at the end of 2020. This shift will be driven by airlines and airport operators working to modernise the sector, improve operational efficiency and reassure travellers of COVID-safety measures. The study, published in September after more than 12 months of research, comes from Valour Consultancy, an award-winning provider of market intelligence services to the aviation community, and P.A.ID Strategies, an expert in payments, authentication, identity, security, and connectivity technologies.

Despite ongoing disruption and uncertainty impacting the aviation industry, the market for self-service and automated passenger-facing touchpoints in airports has continued to grow. Biometric integration into these touchpoints is set to gather pace, hastening the transition towards the long-promised seamless passenger journey. “While many installations in 2020 were part of projects initiated pre-COVID, growth towards the end of the year was aided by airports and airlines investing to encourage travellers back and provide safety reassurance” said report co-author, Craig Foster.

John Devlin, who authored the report alongside Foster, went on to highlight differences in the adoption of biometrics by touchpoint. “Most of us will be familiar with a biometric face scan when we use automated border control (ABC) eGates and this kind of technology will increasingly be found in check-in kiosks, self-bag drop machines and other eGates going forward. The self-boarding gate market looks particularly promising with vendors attracted by high volumes, while airlines and airports can realise efficiency gains, reduce turn time, and redeploy staff to focus on travellers in most need of assistance. Further, growing use within a border control context will help push biometric penetration in self-boarding gates to 78% by 2030. Meanwhile, next year’s deadline for the EU’s Entry-Exit System is boosting installation of immigration kiosks and smart border infrastructure and platforms.”

The report also reveals how self-bag drop is expected to be one of the most lucrative touchpoints, generating $502 million in revenues over the 10-year forecast period. Integration of biometrics into this touchpoint is currently quite low at 14% but is set to grow rapidly over the next few years. “There exists a sizeable installed base of non-biometric units in certain key markets like Europe, many of which will be upgraded to include biometrics as privacy concerns are overcome and stakeholders look to further improve passenger processing times” explained Foster. “In the USA, TSA regulations stating that passenger identity must be verified by an agent and linked to checked luggage are being relaxed, adding further impetus to biometric integration” he concluded.

Aside from how smart, biometrically-enabled touchpoints can free up existing airport space to be used in more flexible layouts and generally enhance the passenger experience, the report delves deeply into various other elements of the business case for these technologies. This includes how airlines and airport operators can benefit from the development of new business and operational models on a reduced budget and workforce. The study also considers how self-service and automation technology has the potential to dramatically increase ancillary revenues on-site, off-site and even in the air.

Background information

The Seamless Passenger Journey in Smart Airports” is a new report from Valour Consultancy and P.A.ID Strategies. Developed with input from more than 40 companies across the value chain, the study includes 224 tables and charts showing the installed base, annual installations and associated revenues for biometric and non-biometric equipment in different regions and at different passenger touchpoints. This includes check-in, bag drop, pre-security, lounge, boarding gate, immigration and customs. The report also features extensive commentary on key market issues, technology trends and the competitive environment. For a full table of contents and report scope, visit: https://valourconsultancy.com/airports/passenger-journey/