Frankfurt airport opens 'biometric check-in' for all passengers

The Local Germany
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Frankfurt airport opens 'biometric check-in' for all passengers
A biometric gate pictured at Hamburg's airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

Airport check-ins and boarding can be notorious for long queues. But Frankfurt airport said on Thursday it wants to eliminate those through its new biometric facial recognition system available to all passengers.


Airport operator Fraport on Thursday presented the system, which has so far been reserved for guests of German airline Lufthansa and its affiliated Star Alliance (including United, Air China and Air India).

It said Frankfurt is now the first airport in Europe to offer the time-saving service to passengers of all airlines who register in advance for it. 

At the checkpoints, people's faces are then scanned as they pass by, instead of checking identification papers, tickets or boarding passes each time.

The new technology is already in use by more than 12,000 passengers at check-in, boarding pass control and boarding gates throughout the airport.

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"Our goal is to equip at least 50 percent of all check-in machines as well as boarding pass control and departure gates with this groundbreaking technology in the next few months," announced Pierre Dominique Prümm, Fraport Executive Board member responsible for infrastructure.

Dubbed the "Smart Path", the technology Sita and the US provider NEC uses people's individual facial characteristics. 

The service is also available at a few other major German airports, but only to Lufthansa and Star Alliance passengers. 


According to Sita, around 75 percent of guests prefer this contactless biometric method as it saves time that would otherwise be spent waiting in a queue.

However, conventional identification methods will continue to remain possible, the airport said.

Star Alliance passengers with Miles & More cards can permanently save their characteristics, while other passengers can register with their ID cards at specially installed machines for the booked flight only. 

The biometric data will be deleted three hours after the actual departure time, Fraport and Sita said.


biometric data - (die) biometrische Daten

(to) equip - ausstatten

conventional identification methods - (die) herkömmliche Identifikationsverfahren

facial features - (die) Gesichtsmerkmale

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