Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance, and NEC Corporation, global leader in IT, network and biometric technologies, today signed a partnership agreement to develop a biometric data-based identification platform that will significantly improve the travel experience for frequent flyer program customers of Star Alliance member airlines.
The interoperable platform advances the Star Alliance and NEC strategic vision 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 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 authorized the use of their biometric data.
How does it work?
With a few easy steps on their mobile device, customers will have the option to enroll in the new platform using industry-leading security technology. They only need to enroll 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. From the outset, 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.
Jeffrey Goh, CEO Star Alliance said: "In NEC, we have found a strong partner who shares our vision of a seamless travel experience for air travelers. At Star Alliance we are committed to making the customer journey better, and this strategic partnership with NEC will help us make the way from curb to gate to aircraft a much simpler, yet innovative experience for our customers."
Takashi Niino, President and CEO of NEC Corporation, added: "NEC is pleased to join forces with Star Alliance to bring an improved cross terminal customer experience. Facial recognition is truly revolutionizing 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 mobilize 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.