Singapore’s Changi Airport is set to join the small number of world airports where passengers benefit from automated border clearance.
No need for boarding passes and passports
From 2024, Changi will use biometric data and facial recognition software, a single token of authentication will be generated for use at a range of airport “touch points” so that passengers can be identified without the need for boarding passes and passports.
The technology is already in place in the airport in some automated border check lanes. The opening phase of the scheme is expected to be available in the early part of next year through the introduction of QR code scanning points, says Sky.
Keeping things seamless despite rising numbers of passengers
Singapore’s Changi Airport is one of the world’s busiest and best known, serving over 100 airlines from as many nations worldwide with routes to around 400 destinations. For the first time since Covid-19, more than 5 million passengers passed through the aiport in June this year.
With officials predicting a return to pre-pandemic levels of travel, passenger flows are expected to be kept efficient with an additional terminal due to open alongside the four existing ones, plus the new automation helping to keep things moving.
“Our immigration systems must be able to manage this high and growing volume of travellers efficiently and provide a positive clearance experience, while ensuring our security,” Communications Minister Josephine Teo told parliament last Monday in a session during which several changes to the country’s Immigration Act were passed, although some representatives expressed concern over cybersecurity.
The new rules will “reduce the need for passengers to repeatedly present their travel documents at touch points and allow for more seamless and convenient processing,” Teo said, although she reminded travellers that passports will still be required for many countries outside of Singapore that do not offer passport-free clearance.
Select airports around the world
As well as Hong Kong International Airport, Indira Gandhi International in Delhi, London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Tokyo Narita and Tokyo Haneda, other airports to employ similar technology and approaches include Dubai International, where “Smart Gates” can check flyers’ identities from facial scanning or fingerprints in “as little as five seconds”, according to CNN.
Various US airports have been trialling biometric check-in, bag drops and boarding gates for the last two years or so, with American Airlines, Delta and United at the forefront of the developments.
As Travel Tomorrow recently reported, Aruba and Finland have announced digital IDs and passports on travellers’ mobile phones now compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.