The Star Alliance group serves over 800 million passengers per year, with many travelers connecting between the 27 partner airlines. “Our mantra is quite simple: We want to make sure the passenger connects, and in fact, connects quite well,” said Jeffrey Goh, CEO, Star Alliance.

Focusing on the potential of passenger biometric data interchange between its airlines, Star Alliance has partnered with NEC Corporation to develop a platform and frequent flyer app to create a more seamless travel experience. “NEC has the experience and the credentials in building biometrics platforms,” said Goh.

“We should be able to educate, to bring more awareness to the benefits of loading and using biometric data.” – Jeffrey Goh, Star Alliance

Recognizing the critical importance of ensuring that the control of biometric data remains with the individual, Goh said that passengers would need to provide consent for the use of their personal data at specific biometric touchpoints, such as check-in and boarding.

“Our strategy is for a traveler to be able to enroll his or her biometric data once, and then use it multiple times in multiple places,” said Goh. “But I think we shouldn’t make the mistake to think this is just a walk in the park. We recognize the challenges. We should be able to educate, to bring more awareness to the benefits of loading and using biometric data.”

A Star Alliance airport hub is expected to launch the new solution early next year. “We’ve had a lot of interest not just from airports, but also from duty-free companies, to cut out the step of having to show your boarding pass when making a purchase,” said Goh.

He also spoke about the challenges of crediting passengers’ frequent flyer points between Star Alliance partner airlines, referring to a new online process that streamlines the handling of missing points. “In four seconds, the points will be credited to your account.”

Goh also acknowledged the association’s efforts to create a seamless passenger experience: “Together with APEX, we will be able to push the boundaries of innovation. It’s a tremendous opportunity, even ground-breaking, for the customer experience.”