Facial biometrics implemented at the border in Mineta San José International Airport

Facial recognition technology to process arriving international travellers is hoped to enhance passenger experience.


Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) has announced its partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to facilitate the use facial biometrics. 

As the first West Coast airport to commit to processing all arriving and departing international travellers with facial biometrics, SJC plans to implement biometrics for all departing travellers at seven gates towards the end of 2018, as part of the biometric exit mandate.

Mayor Sam Liccardo said: “The use of biometrics technology will help cut down wait times and enhance the overall experience for our international travellers, especially as we continue to see unprecedented growth at SJC. [The] announcement offers another great example that San José continues to leverage technology to better serve our community.”

SJC is one of a few early adopter airports to launch the use of facial recognition technology to expedite the entry inspection process of all arriving international passengers.

The new, simplified arrival process enables increased security, faster throughput, and better efficiency.

CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said: “As one of the [U.S.’s] main regions of innovation, Silicon Valley is at the forefront of transforming the travel experience through biometrics. CBP is excited to partner with SJC, which serves as another example of what we can achieve by advancing the entry/exit mandate through public-private collaboration, adding benefits for travellers and stakeholders across the air travel ecosystem.”

SJC has experienced a significant increase in the number of international passengers arriving to its International Arrivals facility, growing to 438,800 in 2017 from 199,900 international arrivals in 2015. Facial comparison technology is the ideal innovation to meet the challenges posed by increasing air travel to the U.S. and limited resources.

Tomomichi Saito, ANA SJC/SFO Vice President & General Manager said: “After a smooth and effortless flight, the biometric entry allows our passengers the luxury of a hassle-free entry at SJC. By combining security with speed and ease of entry, the biometric entry is in line with ANA’s mission of having a foundation of security and reliability.” 

As part of its innovation efforts, CBP built a facial biometric matching service to support airport and airline stakeholder integration for biometric exit, entry, and other passenger services. Facial comparison technology is used because it seamlessly integrates into the airport boarding process and is minimally disruptive to the flow of travel.

Director of Aviation John Aitken: “The SJC community made the right choice to bring biometrics to Silicon Valley travellers, who are known to be early adopters of technology to enhance how they live, work, play, and travel. With biometric entry now in place, and biometric exit coming soon, our globe-travelling customers have more reasons to choose SJC for a faster, easier, and more secure and enjoyable passenger experience.”

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