Blueprint for Security

Emerging biometric technologies have helped to simplify passenger flow and tighten security. Such measures are likely to impact the ground support community not just in terms of passenger handling, but also employee access control, writes Richard Rowe.


Privium’s success has prompted the Schiphol Group to form Dartagnan – a joint venture company with Joh. Enschede – to market biometric security applications in aviation and other industries. As Schiphol’s Harald Bresser, who also serves as Regional Director for Dartagnan, elaborates, projects have already been conducted, including a pilot programme at New York JFK’s Terminal 4. In this case, iris recognition software was installed to protect a door to the tarmac at the terminal’s international arrivals hall. The voluntary test programme enrolled some 300 of JFK’s 13,000 employees. “The terminal operator is looking for a total solution and one that combines different biometric technologies, perhaps in layers with fingerprint readers and facial recognition,” explains Bresser.

Choosing a Solution

Adopting any kind of technology standard is some way off and much will depend on the application; clearly, individual airports could adopt stand-alone biometrics for on-airport access control, but such a pick and mix approach would not be ideal for international passenger-related applications.

What is certain is that biometrics will play a much larger role for the ground service community in the future, not only in terms of passenger handling but also day-to-day access control for ramp workers. The development by EyeTicket of a solution known as EyePass is a case in point: the somewhat Orwellian access control software identifies pilots, flight attendants and airport employees and manages their movement around an airport.

“There will be an impact on the ground handling business in terms of implementing automated check-in with biometrics for passengers,” confirms Lauckner. “We have updated the ground handling community on an annual basis through the IATA Ground Handling Council and it is important for the community to realise that this is not science fiction, but coming very soon.”

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