Biometrics e-gates have made passports expendable security items that can be left behind upon a passengers’ journey to the airport.
Although many industry stakeholders will evaluate the ‘co-existing’ relationship between physical and digital ID, digital forms of identification are in fact starting to replace physical documents.
Biometrics now approximately cut the waiting time upon airport arrival to departure to just 15 minutes with the best-in-class biometric border control systems, not accounting for other common airport delays.
The onus more often is on the traveller choosing to carry their passport rather than necessity that dictates. The UK’s top border force official, Phil Douglas, spoke to the Times on the inevitability that paper passports will soon be a completely dispensable and largely non-functioning form of identification.
Attending the Airport Operators’ Association conference in London, he expressed his hopes that in the near future passports will not be necessary travel items in place of frictionless borders.
Douglas said: “In the future, you won’t need a passport – you’ll just need biometrics.”
Many international ports, both aviation and water ports, have trialled and implemented biometric technologies. The progress has been widespread globally from the CBP amassing pre-held biometric data to match against live travellers profiles, to biometric deployments by airlines and airports in the Star Alliance.
Within two years of launching self-service kiosks, in 2012, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection we were able to deploy around 1,500 kiosks at all main airport hubs throughout the U.S. and reduced wait times by 30 to 35%.
In 2022, IdentityWeek.net was one of the news-outlets to report on The Times’ news story that the Home Office were to trial “contactless corridors” in airports to eliminate queues and cumbersome processing at border points altogether.
The capabilities and rapid implementation of biometrics for the travel industry has eclipsed paper passports.
Despite blue ‘Brexit” passports being introduced in 2020 – which Priti Patel exaggerated as “entwining with our national identity” – biometrics is making it difficult to defraud identities at all and most importantly, upholding to the utmost safety and security in travel.
Biometrics is a tool which is to transform how we can illegal border migration to the UK and rest of Europe.
Douglas also outlined Britain’s plan to continue up-levelling biometric security in aviation by increasing the collection of advanced biometric information to store and compare against live images taken of travellers.
Experiences of travellers everywhere is pretty similar with pilot projects being undertaken in airports such as: Bahrain International Airport, Perth airport, Bangalore and Varanasi airport, iGA Istanbul Airport and Abu Dhabi airport, Munich, Philadelphia International Airport, Václav Havel Airport Prague – to name a few.
Louise Cole, Head of Customer Experience at the International Air Transport Association said: “We’re trying to ensure a global interoperability. A physical passport is the same anywhere – any border guard in the world can know what to expect.”