HIA taps facial recognition tech in 2nd phase of digital strategy
May 26 2019 11:33 PM
Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport


*Only the passenger’s face is required for verification at the self-service bag-drop, automated security gate, and the automated boarding gate, making the experience fast and seamless

Facial biometric recognition across all key passenger touch points, currently under trial at Hamad International Airport (HIA), will be a key feature of the second phase of the innovative Smart Airport programme that has been launched, it was announced on Sunday.

The system is a central piece of the airport's digital strategy and combines passengers’ flight, passport, and facial biometric information in a single electronic record at the self-check-in kiosk or mobile app.

Subsequently, only the passenger’s face is required for verification at the self-service bag-drop, automated security gate, and the automated boarding gate, making the experience fast and seamless.

Knowledge of exactly where the passengers are in their journey at the airport will also aim to help further improve the renowned on-time at HIA, according to a statement.

The successful completion of the first major phase of HIA’s Smart Airport programme has proven to be extremely popular, with up to 40% of the home carrier Qatar Airways’ passengers preferring to self-check-in; and a further 20% opting for self-bag-drop.

The swift process vastly improves customer experience and allows more passengers to be managed without physical expansion of the check-in facilities. It also empowers HIA passengers by offering total control of their journey from arrival to departure.

Engineer Badr Mohamed al-Meer, chief operating officer at HIA, said: “In line with our vision and strategic plan, we continue to invest in customer-centric innovative technology to provide fast, seamless and enjoyable travel experience to be the airport of choice for our discerning customers. Our approach to identity management is unique and holistic, in that we foresee wide-scale deployment of biometric capability across both mandated and voluntary passenger touch points while addressing customer data privacy concerns in line with relevant local and international regulations.”

HIA’s Smart Airport programme is helping optimise operational processes; and utilisation of resources and assets at the airport, for instance, the Service Delivery Measurement system enables real-time monitoring of passenger wait times, thus allowing tactical decisions to recover service levels by deploying additional resources when the wait time exceeds targets.

The performance trends also help inform design decisions for future terminal capacity and passenger flows, a benefit to HIA as it begins the next phase of its expansion plan this year. Another example is the airport's ongoing implementation of Airport Collaborative Decision Making (ACDM) platform.

Once fully operational, the ACDM platform will enable more effective collaboration between all airport stakeholders to optimise flight turn around processes, further improving HIA’s efficiency and on-time performance.

HIA’s continued efforts and investment in cutting-edge technology through its Smart Airport programme are recognised through its awards and accolades. The airport ranked the World’s 4th Best Airport by SKYTRAX 2019 and was named the Best Airport for Passenger Experience for the second consecutive year in a study by AirHelp.

HIA also ranked the second best airport in the world for On-Time Performance in OAG’s Punctuality League report and was winner for the Service Delivery Measurement in the Smart Transport Solution of the Year category at the Qatar IT Business Awards 20018.

The awards recognise HIA’s commitment to the highest environmental standards and to responsible business practices as well as innovative facilities, five-star customer service, and state-of-the-art terminal, the statement added.

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