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Star Alliance and NEC Corp sign partnership on biometric data recognition technology

30 Jul 2019
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Airline alliance Star Alliance and network and biometric solutions provider NEC Corporation have today signed a partnership agreement to develop a biometric data-based identification platform that will improve the travel experience for frequent flyer program customers of Star Alliance member airlines. 

The interoperable platform advances the Star Alliance and NEC goal of delivering a seamless customer journey while strengthening the loyalty value proposition within the travel ecosystem. 

Once implemented, Star Alliance customers who opt-in to biometrics will have a seamless and handsfree passenger experience, allowing them to pass through curb-to-gate touchpoints within airports, such as check-in kiosks, bag-drop, lounges, and boarding gates, which traditionally require both a passport and boarding pass, by using a secure identity management solution featuring facial recognition technology. 

Moreover, the platform will aim to help airports and the Star Alliance member airlines to increase operational efficiency. 

The service will be available to customers who are enrolled in one of the Star Alliance frequent flyer programs and who have authorised the use of their biometric data.

How does it work?

With a few steps on their mobile device, customers will have the option to enrol in the new platform using industry-leading security technology.

They only need to enrol once and can then use their biometrics data multiple times at biometrics touchpoints of any participating airport whenever they travel with a Star Alliance member airline. 

Personal data, such as photo and other identification details, are encrypted and safely stored within the platform.

The system has been designed in compliance with applicable data protection laws making use of the latest facial recognition technology.

Personal data will only be processed with the consent of the passenger.

Passengers may be required to show their passport during security and immigration procedures. 

Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh says, "In NEC, we found a strong partner who shares our vision of a seamless travel experience for air travellers.”

NEC Corporation president and CEO Takashi Niino adds, "NEC is pleased to join forces with Star Alliance to bring an improved cross terminal customer experience. Facial recognition is truly revolutionising the airline industry and making flying more enjoyable, just as it was always intended.

“In support of this partnership, similar to our implementations in United States, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, NEC will mobilise its global resources and provide local assistance to each of the member airlines to leverage this secure, interoperable platform and rapidly bring our common vision to reality."

Star Alliance and NEC aim to introduce the first biometric solution at a Star Alliance airport hub by the first quarter of 2020.