Facial comparison technology launched at William P. Hobby Airport
Following the introduction of facial comparison, Hobby Airport is the first in Texas to have full biometric entry and exit for international passengers.
William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) has become the first airport in Texas to have full biometric entry and exit for international passengers following the introduction of facial comparison technology, with passenger wait times at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection checkpoints expected to half.
The introduction of facial comparison technology during the entry process complements the biometric exit process that CBP, Houston Airports (HAS) and Southwest Airlines introduced at the airport in November 2018.
Mario Diaz, Houston Aviation Director, said: “Hobby Airport has taken a big leap into the future of travel. We could not have reached this technological milestone without the help of our partners – CBP and Southwest Airlines. Simplified arrivals will enhance the travel experience for the one million international passengers travelling through Hobby Airport every year. This is an important step to realise our goal of becoming a five-star airport.”
Upon arrival at the airport, international travellers pause for a photo at the primary inspection point. Following this, the facial comparison technology at the CBP checkpoint will use the new photo to compare the passenger to images previously provided to the government, such as passport and visa photos. If the new photo does not match one already on record, the CBP officer will process the passenger manually.
Houston Director of Field Operations, Judson W. Murdock II, said: “CBP is committed to working with our partners to ensure that the travel system is secure and efficient. The speed, accuracy and reliability of facial comparison technology enables CBP officers to confirm a traveller’s identity within seconds while further enhancing the customer experience.”
Those who wish to opt-out of the new biometric process are able to notify an officer upon approach to the inspection point and will be required to provide a valid travel document for manual identity verification by a CBP officer and processed consistent with existing requirements for entry into the U.S.
Since September 2018, CBP has successfully used biometric facial comparison technology to stop over 250 passengers who attempted to enter the U.S. by presenting a genuine travel document that belonged to another person. The implementation of the technology is a direct result of recommendations from the 9/11 Commission.