In Focus: Star Alliance’s Biometrics Platform Enhances Airline and Airport COVID-19 Safety Collaboration


Image via Fraport AG

This article originally appeared in the Expo Daily Experience: Preview. Read the full issue and register for FTE APEX Virtual Expo to learn more about the role of biometrics in the fight against COVID-19.

Touchless identification is being put to the test at Munich and Frankfurt airports as Lufthansa Group rolls out the Star Alliance biometrics platform to Lufthansa and SWISS Miles & More members. The free opt-in program allows passengers departing from either hub to pass through both security access and boarding gates without removing their masks. 

“Especially during the pandemic, these touchless processes are a big plus.” – Christina Foerster, Lufthansa Group board member

Technology, and in particular mobile technology, is at the center of a safer passenger journey amidst the COVID-19  pandemic. To enroll in Star Alliance Biometrics, eligible customers simply take a selfie through the Lufthansa app. The platform’s facial recognition technology then matches the customer’s live image to the boarding pass information and biometric profile on record, even if passengers are wearing a mask. Identity match at airport gates is facilitated by the NEC I:Delight software on dedicated kiosks and personal biometric information is fully encrypted and stored on the cloud in compliance with EU privacy laws. The kiosks themselves do not store any image data and only serve to process the live identity match.

“Biometrics will become increasingly important to the future of travel. Especially during the pandemic, these touchless processes are a big plus,” says Christina Foerster, an executive board member at Lufthansa Group.

Passengers can use their biometric identity to travel at any participating airport and with any Star Alliance member airline where the program is in place. They can also opt out and delete their stored biometric identity at any time.

“Optimizing travel processes for passengers is our top priority at Frankfurt Airport, and biometric processes offer our customers numerous advantages in terms of comfort, security and reduced waiting time,” adds Pierre Dominique Prümm, who sits on the board at Fraport AG, which operates Frankfurt Airport.

Lufthansa Group is the first Star Alliance member to use the biometric platform. The program is first being rolled out at Terminal 1 in Frankfurt, but the airport has plans to extend it to other passenger processing zones, including baggage drop-off, in the near future.