The FINANCIAL — Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, has completed development of an interoperable biometric identity and identification platform that will significantly improve the travel experience for frequent flyer programme customers of Star Alliance member airlines.
The Star Alliance Biometrics platform advances the vision of Star Alliance member airlines of delivering a seamless customer journey, while strengthening loyalty value proposition within its travel ecosystem.
Lufthansa Group (LHG) airlines, Lufthansa (a founding member of Star Alliance) and SWISS will be the first to use Star Alliance Biometrics for selected flights starting in November. Specific infrastructure is being installed at hub airports Frankfurt and Munich, reaping operational benefits at both locations.
Members of the Lufthansa and SWISS Miles & More Frequent Flyer Program who opt-in to biometrics will be able to pass through both security access and boarding gates in a touchless manner, an important health and hygiene safety measure in times of COVID-19.
In keeping with the requirement to wear masks in the airport terminal, it is not required to remove the mask for the biometric identity check. The identification process works for passengers wearing masks.
The Star Alliance Biometrics service is built upon NEC Corporation’s NEC I:Delight biometric and identity management platform software. The secure service is available at no cost to customers of the Miles & More program who have consented to share their biometric data with stakeholders of their choice during travel.
How does enrolment work?
Effective immediately, and with a few easy steps on their mobile device, Miles & More customers will have the option to enrol in Star Alliance Biometrics, accessed via a link within the Lufthansa app. Customers enrolling are asked to take a selfie, verify their identity with their passport, and opt-in to the airlines and airports where they want to use the service.
Enrol once, use often
They only need to enrol once and can then use their biometrics data multiple times at biometrics touchpoints of any participating airport whenever they travel with a Star Alliance member airline who has implemented Star Alliance Biometrics.
Data privacy and security
Personal data, such as photo and other identification details, are encrypted and safely stored within the platform. From the outset, the system has been designed in compliance with applicable data protection laws making use of the latest facial recognition technology. Storage of personal data is kept to a minimum – for example, no customer names are stored.
Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance stated: “We are exceedingly proud to have founding member Lufthansa as the first airline to implement the Star Alliance Biometrics solution in both of its Frankfurt and Munich Airport hubs. This is a customer-centric solution that furthers our credentials in innovation, particularly its multi-airline and multi-airport capability. Whilst it offers a seamless customer travel experience, it is also a critical development that addresses the expectation of customers for a more touchless and hygienically safer experience. Star Alliance Biometrics is a key part of our strategy to be the most digitally advanced global airline alliance.”
Christina Foerster, Member of the Board, Customer, IT & Corporate Responsibility, said “The topic of biometrics will become increasingly important when travelling in the future. Especially during the pandemic, such touchless processes at the airport are a big plus. In the Lufthansa Group, biometric technology and solutions will increasingly ensure simplified and more efficient processes at airports, thereby significantly improving the travel experience of our passengers. I am very pleased that with Star Alliance Biometrics we will be able to offer interested frequent flyers biometric security checkpoint access and boarding via facial recognition at our Frankfurt and Munich hubs as from November. This is an important milestone for us. “
“Optimizing travel processes for passengers is our top priority at Frankfurt Airport, and biometric processes offer our customers numerous advantages. Star Alliance Biometrics now creates a more efficient and – especially important in today’s times – touchless passenger journey, which offers greater security as well as more comfort and less waiting time. We are proud to be one of the first airports worldwide to offer this pioneering technology for boarding pass control and individual gates in Terminal 1 – Area A, together with our most important customers Star Alliance and Lufthansa. In the coming weeks and months we will gradually expand the range – also to new process points such as baggage drop-off,” says Dr. Pierre Dominique Prümm, Board Member Aviation and Infrastructure at Fraport AG.
“Biometrics offers us the opportunity to further accelerate and simplify processes at Munich Airport for the benefit of travelers”, said Jost Lammers, CEO of Munich Airport. “This not only increases passenger comfort, but also – thanks to the contactless process – hygiene standards and health protection. In this way, we are once again fulfilling our promise of quality as the only 5-star-airport in Europe.”