Air Asia starts boarding with facial recognition at Senai

Air Asia Airbus A321neo
Air Asia has more than 100 Airbus A321neo on order

Malaysian low-cost airline Air Asia has started using facial recognition to board flights at Johor Bahru’s Senai International Airport (JHB).

Called FACES (Fast Airport Clearance Experience System), the new system is the first in Malaysa to use self-boarding with facial recognition.

To use the system, passengers have to first enroll their biometrics at the airport.

At the boarding gate, the self-boarding egates take the biometrics again and compare that with the enrolled details.

To start with, the airport has one enrollment kiosk and three boarding gates.

The service is available for both domestic and international AirAsia flights from Johor Bahru.

Passengers still need a printed or mobile boarding pass.

AirAsia believes the new system could potentially cut the boarding time for each flight from 11–13 minutes down to 9–11 minutes. As Air Asia has a 25-minute turnaround these savings are significant.

The system is fully owned and operated by AirAsia and the technology comes from Swedish company Gunnebo.

How it works

Air Asia FACES
Air Asia infographic showing FACES fits in the passenger flow

Passengers wanting to use FACES have to enrol at a dedicated enrolment kiosk in the check-in kiosk area at Senai International Airport. They place their MyKad or chip-enabled passport in the document reader and have their facial biometrics captured by the kiosk. This creates a biometric token that is used for self-boarding.

Enrolment is a one-time process, meaning that for future flights the passenger doesn’t have to enrol again as their biometric token is stored in the system.

Once their ID document expires, passengers have to enrol again.

At the boarding gate, enrolled passengers don’t need an ID as the egate will take their picture and compare it with the one stored.

There are some restrictions. Passengers have to be over 18 years with a height of 145 cm to 190 cm.

Here are the full details from Air Asia.

Passenger self-service and AirAsia

Like most low-cost airlines AirAsia is big on passenger self-service. In May 2017, the airline removed all counter check-in at its Kuala Lumpur base meaning that all passengers must use self-service for check-in – online, mobile or kiosk.

AirASia passengers also can print their bag tags at home or at kiosks at Kuala Lumpur.

N.B. Image credit: AirAsia

Internet links

AirAsia (AK)

Gunnebo