Finnair testing biometric check-in at Helsinki

Up to 1000 passengers in test from May 2 until May 23

Finnair and Finavia are testing facial recognition biometrics for the check-in process of Finnair flights at Helsinki Airport.

During the test period taking place between May 2 until May 23, the companies will gather information on the applicability of facial recognition technology to the airport environment and the systems and processes used by the airline. Finnair has invited a group of 1,000 frequent flyers to take part in the test.

Sari Nevanlinna, Head of Ground Experience and Ancillary at Finnair:

“Face recognition technology could offer possibilities for smoothening the departure process from the customer’s point of view, and eliminate the need for a boarding pass. This test will give us information on the applicability of face recognition technology for our processes, and the impact it has on the customer experience.”

Finnair passengers taking part in the test will use a test application to send their face portraits to the test system. When checking in to their flights, passengers will use a designated check-in desk, where the facial recognition technology will be installed. A customer service agent will then check the customer’s travel information and indicate in the test system if the facial recognition was successful.

Heikki Koski, Vice President of Helsinki Airport for Finavia:

“We want to make air travel flow even smoother and be involved in further developing the customer experience. Facial recognition is part of the larger megatrend of biometric recognition, and it will enable “Hands in the pockets” travelling, where you no longer need any travel documents. When all travel-related information is digitized, it takes less time and is easier to get through the checkpoints at the airport. Last year, we tested facial recognition technology at the employee security control and the results were very encouraging.”

The system used in the test is provided by Futurice, and built using widely available hard- and software as well as cloud-based services, and with a strong view to the passenger experience.

Tuğberk Duman, Project Manager at Futurice:

“We use face feature based face recognition technology, which turns facial images into untraceable biometrics IDs. This enables us to identify registered passengers on the go without having to store images. This test will provide useful information on the use of this solution for environments with large customer flows and tight security needs.”

About Finnair

Finnair is the largest airline in Finland. It’s main hub is Helsinki Airport.

Routes: Finnair flies between Asia, Europe and North America with an emphasis on fast connections via Helsinki, and connecting 18 cities in Asia and 7 cities in North America with more than 60 destinations in Europe.

Fleet: Currently about 60 aircraft, comprising:

  • 8 Airbus A319
  • 10 Airbus A320
  • 14 – 18 Airbus A321
  • 8 Airbus A330
  • 8 Airbus A350
  • 12 Embraer E190

Passengers: Just over 10.3 million in 2015

Alliance: oneworld

N.B. Image credit: Finnair

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