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Airline partners with U.S. Customs and Border Protection on one-step facial recognition exit screening

Delta customers departing Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport and New York-JFK for international destinations this summer will be part of a test that captures customers’ biometrics upon exit of the United States at the same time they self-scan their boarding pass. Delta is the first airline Customs and Border Protection has partnered with to test new biometric exit immigration procedure and technology designed to give CBP an enhanced ability to record when visitors depart the U.S.

Delta’s tests, powered by biometric identification and management providers Vision-Box at JFK (pictured) and NEC Corporation of America at ATL, confirms passenger identity using advanced facial recognition technology and Delta ticketing information in a single, automated, reliable and highly secure solution. Upon successful screening at JFK, the eGate will open for individual customers to pass into the boarding area. In Atlanta, a different, self-contained unit will capture and verify customer’s identity before the customer continues on to boarding. All customer data is securely managed by CBP.

CPB biometric screening“Delta is always willing to partner with the CBP as it continues testing new technologies to improve its processes,” said Gil West, Delta's Chief Operating Officer. “Its spirit of innovation aligns with Delta’s as we continue pioneering our own biometric customer experience solutions to enhance the airport travel experience for customers while giving employees the ability to focus on higher-touch customer needs.”

Delta’s JFK test launched June 12 at gate B24, while customers will start experiencing the one-step process in ATL at gates E10 and E12 later this summer. The Atlanta pilot will build on a year-long collaboration between Delta, NEC and CBP that has been testing facial recognition and boarding technology for exit screening on ATL gates F6 and F9.

"CBP has been working with our stakeholders to build a simplified, but secure travel process that not only meets the biometric exit mandate, but also aligns with CBP’s and the travel industry’s modernization efforts,” said John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, CBP. “We are happy to be working with partners, like Delta, to expand the use of facial biometric technology to create an innovative, more efficient travel experience for passengers.”

Technology providers Vision-Box and NEC added: 

“Vision-Box is excited to partner with Delta to provide an innovative self-boarding e-Gate system that combines airline boarding and biometric exit capture capabilities in a single process,” said Miguel Leitmann, Vision-Box CEO. “Passenger experience, high biometric accuracy and personal data protection are among the key metrics the pilot is addressing in order to establish a foundation to scale up to other airports.”

NEC Corporate of America Senior Vice President Raffie Beroukhim said, “Utilization of biometrics is perhaps the only means of balancing increased safety and security with passenger convenience. As a leading provider of such technologies, NEC is proud of the partnership with Delta and CBP in Atlanta, the progress made to date, and further potential in improving both safety and passenger convenience.”

While Delta has been working with CBP over the past year to test biometric exit screening technologies in ATL, it has also been pioneering its own customer service solutions to create a frictionless travel experience like its first-of-its-kind biometric boarding pass at DCA and self-service bag drop program at MSP that uses facial recognition biometrics. Over the past year, Delta has led the industry on a number of innovative customer solutions like RFID baggage handling, real-time bag tracking via the Fly Delta mobile app, more efficient and high tech automated screening lanes and a groundbreaking app that helps Delta pilots avoid turbulence for a more comfortable flight. Delta’s partnership with CLEAR already gives exclusive rates to U.S.-based SkyMiles Members for a faster way through security lines at more than 20 airports nationwide.

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