Qantas passengers use facial recognition technology in landmark Sydney Airport trial

05 July 2018

  • Sydney Airport trialling first stages of ‘couch-to-gate’ biometrics technology
  • Qantas customers check-in via leading biometrics facial recognition technology
  • Technology to provide improved experience for passengers

Note: The biometrics technology trial has now concluded.

Select Sydney Airport passengers are now using groundbreaking biometrics technology with facial recognition processing, allowing them to undergo a more seamless airport experience.

The world-leading biometrics system, when fully tested, will mean passengers will be able to complete most stages of their airport journey using their face as their access identification.

The initial phase of the trial will test four key steps in the passenger journey including automated check-in, bag drop, lounge access and boarding. Additional steps proposed for future trials include mobile check-in and automated border processing.

Qantas passengers on select international flights will participate with the airline, the launch partner for the trial.

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said the trial 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.

“We’ve worked with Qantas from the outset and are delighted to be partnering with them as we trial this technology.

“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,” Ms 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.”

Mr Culbert emphasised Sydney Airport’s focus on investing in new technologies, such as facial recognition, to continually improve the experience of the 43 million passengers who pass through the airport each year.

“I’m pleased that Sydney Airport is well advanced in our plans to deliver a full ‘couch-to-boarding gate’ facial recognition process,” he said. “It’s also great that we’ve been able to partner with an Australian airline to bring this technology to life.

“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.