‘Couch-to-gate’ tech trials at Sydney Airport

Facial Identification the next "access ID"

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Sydney Airport has this week commenced trials of new “groundbreaking biometrics technology” it has dubbed ‘couch-to-gate’ as the next phase of a seamless airport experience.

The initial phase of the trail will test four key steps in the passenger journey, spanning automated check-in, bag drop, lounge access and boarding, Sydney Airport said. In the future, it is proposed that trials will also incorporate mobile check-in and automated border processing.

Qantas is the launch partner for the trial, which will see guests on select international flights identified using facial recognition processing. The technology aspires to enable travellers to use their face as their “access identification”.

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said the testing is the most extensive biometrics trial to date and is part of a broader focus on investing in technology to make the airport experience easier and more convenient for passengers.

“We’re very excited that select Qantas passengers now have the chance to experience this highly sophisticated technology as part of this landmark trial,” he said.

“In the future, there will be no more juggling passports and bags at check-in and digging through pockets or smartphones to show your boarding pass – your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process.”

Qantas Chief Customer Officer Vanessa Hudson said the airline was focused on increasing the use of technology to drive innovation for customers.

“One of our core commitments at Qantas is to make travel as attractive, convenient and enjoyable as possible,” Hudson said.

“There is an increasing need for airlines and airports to offer faster and more convenient airport experiences and we’re excited to see what results the trial produces.

“Qantas customers will not only be able to check in for their flight using the technology, it is also available for our lounge staff who can create a more personalised experience when passengers arrive.”

“I’m pleased that Sydney Airport is well advanced in our  plans to deliver a full ‘couch-to-boarding gate’ facial recognition process,” Culbert added.

“We’re excited to be leading the way with this technology and will continue to find innovative new ways to make our passengers’ journeys even more seamless.”

Consent is actively sought from all passengers participating in the trial, which adheres to the strictest privacy standards and complies with all relevant legislation.

The Australian Government’s border processing procedures will remain unchanged and travellers will still be required to undergo the current border processes.

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