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Narita airport starts facial recognition trial run for faster travel

News Desk

Kyodo News

Tokyo, Japan  /  Tue, April 13, 2021  /  12:45 pm
Narita airport starts facial recognition trial run for faster travel

In this picture taken on January 16, 2020, officers work at a health screening station as they observe passengers arriving on a flight from Wuhan, China, where a SARS-like virus was discovered and has since spread, at Narita airport. - The death toll from a new China virus that is transmissible between humans rose to six, the mayor of Wuhan said in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV on January 21, as the World Health Organization said it would consider declaring an international public health emergency over the outbreak. (Photo by STR / JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT (AFP/JIJI PRESS)

Narita airport, near Tokyo, started Tuesday trialing the use of facial recognition for international travelers, with no need to show passports or flight tickets after check-in.

The trial of "Face Express," which is meant to speed up the boarding process and provide a touchless experience for passengers, only involved airport staff and not actual travelers, Narita International Airport said.

The system is scheduled to be adopted at Narita as well as Haneda airport, Tokyo's other international gateway, in July.

Fliers who wish to use the Face Express system will have their photos taken at check-in when they register their passports and boarding passes.

The biometric ID processing will mean that passengers will not have to keep taking out their passports and tickets at the luggage drop, security checkpoints and boarding gates with cameras, ensuring smooth air travel.

It will also lead to reduced physical contact between travelers, machines, airport and flight staff, helping to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus during the pandemic, the airport operator said.

Passenger data, including facial images, will be deleted within 24 hours after registration to protect privacy.

Narita airport's Face Express will be used initially by All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, gradually expanding to other airlines.

At Haneda airport, airlines flying international routes will all use the new system.