by Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA)

OTTAWA, February 6, 2007 ? The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority is pleased to announce that the world’s first dual biometric airport identification program is operational at Canada’s 29 largest airports. The new Restricted Area Identity Card (RAIC) covers approximately 100,000 airport personnel who work in restricted areas of airports.

“CATSA is proud of this latest milestone in improving security. In partnership with Transport Canada and the airport authorities, we have created an innovative biometric program that leads the world in airport security for non-passengers,” said Jacques Duchesneau, CATSA President and Chief Executive Officer.

The RAIC integrates a small computer chip, including a microprocessor and memory to store biometric data of fingerprint and iris templates. The smart card is one component of an innovative program which also comprises fingerprint and iris readers, plus a network of infrastructure linking 29 airports to a secure central database.

“Airport security is a priority for this Government. We take a layered approach to security to ensure that there are multiple measures in place”, said Minister Cannon. “The Restricted Area Identity Card not only verifies that the person who was issued the card is the same person presenting the card at a restricted area access point in the airport, but it also verifies whether or not the card is still valid and that the individual has a current security clearance.”

Phase I of RAIC deployment focuses on areas within the Air Terminal Buildings. A second phase to address all other areas within the airport’s security perimeter, including vehicle gates, fixed base operations, and tenant facilities, is being planned.

To enter a restricted area, the airport worker swipes the RAIC in front of the reader, then uses either his fingerprint or iris. The iris or fingerprint must match the encrypted template embedded in the RAIC. Otherwise, access is denied. Before the introduction of the RAIC, restricted area passes were validated manually by a guard at the entrance of the secure zone. The RAIC confirms the identity of the cardholder through the card and biometric matching. It also confirms that the cardholder has a valid Transportation Security Clearance.

CATSA developed and deployed the technology, including the smart card and fingerprint and iris readers. The 29 airports are responsible for access control and enrolling airport personnel into the new program. Transport Canada issues security clearances to airport workers, and establishes and enforces the regulations regarding RAIC.

Read the backgrounder on the Restricted Area Identity Card below.

Restricted Area Identity Card

CATSA is responsible for deploying and implementing the Restricted Area Identity Card (RAIC), a new biometric identification card for airport workers.

The smart card is one component in an innovative biometric program. It includes the RAIC, fingerprint and iris readers, plus a confidential network which links 29 airports to a central, secure database. The new nation-wide program replaces several different systems at airports to control access into secure areas.

The smart card uses biometric technology to ensure that the person presenting the card is in fact the person to whom the card was issued. The card allows airports to confirm the identity of the airport worker and ensure that his security clearance is valid and up to date. This process takes three seconds.

An airport worker is granted a biometric smart card only after receiving security clearance from Transport Canada. Transport Canada conducts an extensive background check in cooperation with RCMP and CSIS. The RAIC is only issued once the appropriate clearances have been obtained for the applicant by the airport authority.

The RAIC covers non-passengers such as caterers, ground crews, maintenance workers, pilots and flight attendants and other airport workers who have access to restricted areas.

The card has several security features: a smart chip embedded with a unique algorithm representing unique fingerprint and iris patterns; a tamper-proof hologram; an expiry date.

The RAIC program covers approximately 100,000 airport workers at 29 airports.