Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has partnered with information technology company SITA, to trial the use of facial biometrics in order to check in cabin crew at the airlines Crew Briefing Centre at Abu Dhabi International Airport.The trial will use facial recognition technology to identify and authenticate crew members, allowing them to complete check-in procedures and mandatory pre-flight safety and security questions digitally via their own mobile devices. The new initiative will replace the current kiosk-based check-in process which requires crew to use their staff identity cards as a form of authentication.Captain Sulaiman Yaqoobi, Vice President Flight Operations, Etihad Aviation Group said: “Etihad is constantly on the lookout for innovative solutions and new technologies that will drive improvements in the airline's operations and enhance the experience for guests and employees. Etihad is excited to partner with SITA to explore the potential that facial biometric services has for the aviation industry. By integrating contactless technology, biometric services will increase efficiency while simultaneously cementing our commitment to reducing the spread of COVID-19 by limiting physical touch points and maximising social distancing measures.”As part of the airline's digitalisation strategy, facial biometric technology is expected to improve operational efficiency by speeding up the existing check-in process and automating crew time and attendance management and access controls. Cabin crew will also experience a seamless and contactless check-in experience.Roger Nakouzi, Vice President Sales, SITA added: “We are proud to partner with Etihad to design and implement a secure biometric system that offers a smarter and more efficient working environment for crew while solving a key operational challenge of the pandemic by reducing contact points. SITA has extensive experience in both mobile and biometrictechnology solutions having developed and implemented SITA Smart Path at airports globally, enabling a seamless, low touch passenger experience while increasing airport efficiencies.”The trial will continue until February 2021 and will provide the airline with invaluable data to explore future exploration of biometric technology for use in guest operations, such as check-in and boarding.