Expect accelerated technology investments as airports begin the recovery from COVID-19. A survey by Airports Council International, an industry trade group, pointed to biometric technology as a significant focus for increased spending.

Survey respondents, including 180 IT decision makers from 41 countries, said programs and products addressing passenger health are high on their list for improvements. One primary spending target is self-boarding gates using biometrics and ID documentation. More than 60% of airports intend to roll out these gates by 2023 – three times the number from 2020.

Increased reliance on biometrics is already underway. The survey results showed:

  • 89% of airports offer self-service check-in options
  • 64% have biometric-enabled immigration border gates
  • 77% have or soon will implement infrastructure to support biometric touchpoints throughout the airport
  • 67% already have or will soon add self-service boarding gates

The move to touchless solutions is unsurprising as COVID-19 cases continue rising in many countries. Nearly 90% of the responding airports reported addressing passenger safety with solutions such as sensors, video monitoring and robots to monitor social distancing.

Airport administrators are quick to move when events such as health concerns or terrorism impact the public’s confidence in air travel. Touchless biometric solutions are ideal for any size airport where accurate and convenient identity authentication is required.

Iris ID technology is used at security and custom gates in major international airports such as Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Qatar’s Hamad International Airport. CLEAR, which provides self-check kiosks in many U.S. airports, stadiums, arenas and other entertainment venues, uses Iris ID readers in its stations.

Airports Council International completed its survey in the final quarter of 2020.