São Paulo and Rio airports will implement facial biometrics for boarding

National airports in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro will deploy fully digital boarding processes based on facial biometrics, it was announced today (11).

A technical cooperation agreement was signed between the airport operator Infraero and the public technology company Serpro to carry out the implementation. The move follows trials that had been going on since 2020 involving more than 6,000 passengers traveling between Congonhas and Santos Dumont airports. The final leg of the pilots involved more than 200 cabin crew members and took place between November 2021 and January 2022.

Purchased by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Special Secretariat for Management and Digital Government of the Ministry of Economy, the new feature is part of the ongoing Safer Boarding program.

The facial biometrics-based system was developed by Serpro, with input from a group of stakeholders including the Civil Aviation Agency, airlines and airport operators. Additionally, a group of IT companies are engaged in the process, including Amadeus, Biomtech, Collins, Digicon, Gunnebo, Rockwell Collins, Pacer, SITA, Wolpac, Idemia, and Azul/Pacer.

Using the passenger’s personal data, social security number and a photo taken on the spot, the Serpro app allows airline staff to perform biometric validation at check-in, comparing the data and photo with government databases. After that, users can walk to the gates and access the plane without having to show ID and boarding pass.

Going forward, Infraero and Serpro will allocate teams to manage and implement the solution. Infraero will aim to acquire the equipment necessary for the full implementation of the facial recognition system, in a tender process expected to be launched this month, with the equipment expected to be fully functional d here July. Meanwhile, Serpro will provide an identity verification engine for the project.

At the time the cabin crew pilots were announced, the Brazilian government said negotiations between the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Civil Aviation Secretariat, airports and airlines were at an advanced stage for the full implementation of biometric boarding at airports nationwide in 2022.

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