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Tampa Airport to Use New Facial Recognition Technology for International Travelers

Soon, international passengers will be able to access secure areas and planes without a boarding pass.

Tampa International Airport is investing in facial recognition biometric systems at departure gates that will process departing travelers in a touchless and more expedient way than before. The new technology will give TPA a competitive edge to handle more travelers in the future and it could attract more international flights.

“Your face becomes both your passport and your boarding pass,” TPA’s Executive Vice President of Operations and Customer Service John Tiliacos said during the aviation board’s meeting on Thursday. The airport expects to have the camera-based tech installed at 11 gates by this summer.

“We look forward to really seeing the benefit of this new streamlined process as more international passengers return to Tampa,” Tiliacos said.

TPA had several connections to international destinations pre-pandemic and is slowly making traction on reintroducing them. Increased international connections are among the airport’s strategies to bring new business and meet the market’s growing demands. It has been evaluating potential connections to Manchester, England; Dublin, Ireland; Bogota, Colombia; Lima, Peru and Mexico City.

The airport reportedly spent $1 million for the pilot phase. The airport did not disclose how much it would spend for the new permanent biometric systems.

The technology works when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection computer compares a new photo of the passenger to a passport or visa photo on file. 

In late March, U.S. Customs and Border Protection installed one biometric system in the customs area for screening arriving international passengers.

Although the technology for international departures and arrivals is new, TPA piloted the technology in 2019 with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The airport always held a high interest in the technology, and previously said it envisions the entire airport’s entry and exit process having face-scanning checkpoints in the future. Read Full Article >

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