Shannon becomes first European airport to have biometric screening

Posted: 27 September 2018 | | No comments yet

New facial recognition system will speed up screening time at Shannon Airport, as it becomes the first airport outside of the Americas to have this technology installed.


The importance of Shannon Airport in transatlantic aviation has once again been reflected as it has become the first airport in Europe to have facial recognition technology introduced for U.S. preclearance.

This is good news for Shannon Airport transatlantic passengers as it speeds up their journey through the airport and allows them avail of shorter security screening times than at other airports. 

The new technology is a further boost to Shannon which back in 2016 became the first airport in the world to operate a combined EU and US TSA checkpoint system, halving the time spent in security screening at other preclearance airports. 

The introduction of the new facial technology system in recent months has seen Shannon become the first airport outside the Americas to use facial biometrics to verify the identity of travellers about to enter the US.

The programme has already been successfully implemented in several US airports and was also extended to Aruba Airport in the Caribbean.

The facial recognition technology essentially verifies passengers by matching them to the documents they are presenting.

It will not alone enhance security but will speed up the screening process, with airports in the US now processing up to ten people per minute with the new system.

It has been operating successfully in Shannon since its installation and is the latest preclearance first for the airport.

The installation of the service is timely for Shannon, with the airport experiencing its busiest period on transatlantic operations for 17 years, with seven services to six destinations.

Operations Director at Shannon Airport Niall Maloney said: “Being the first airport in Europe to have this ground breaking technology installed reaffirms Shannon’s status in transatlantic aviation. We were the first to get preclearance and now we’re the first to pilot this technology. Ultimately, the big gain here is that this the latest enhancement to passenger services at Shannon. We’re coming to the end of our busiest summer season on transatlantic since the early part of the last decade and anything that speeds up queues and enhances security is a major plus.”

Shannon Airport Managing Director Andrew Murphy said: “We are delighted that US Customs and Border Protection has selected Shannon for this pilot.  We’ve had an excellent working relationship with them since Shannon, in 2009, became the first airport outside the Americas to have US preclearance. This means that we have the most efficient and reliable systems in place for passenger screening for the US.  That’s good for security but also very good for the passenger.”

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