Two Tokyo airports trialling biometrics from check-in to boarding

Passenger face will 'replace' boarding pass in the airport

Both Haneda and Narita are planning a huge increase in the use of biometrics.

Both airports are trialling Face Express, a facial recognition system that means the passenger face will effectively replace boarding passes throughout the airport.

Passengers will have their facial biometrics captured at a biometric check-in kiosk and that biometric will then be checked at each major step up to boarding the aircraft.

The capture process checks passenger live biometrics with those in their epassport and then stores then for the future checks.

Passengers then take their bags to a self bag drop kiosk. That has an embedded camera that checks the passengers face with its biometric database.

The same process takes place at security and boarding: security e-Gates and boarding e-Gates also have embedded cameras that automatically check the passengers live biometrics with those in the database.

Doing facial recognition at each of these steps means that passengers do not need to show their boarding pass or passport again.

Narita is trialling the systems with Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways. Haneda is doing the trial at all gates in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, for all airlines that run international service through the airport.

Both trials started on 13 April and are planned to go fully live in July. If successful, the system will be then be used as a new standard for all international departures.


The facial recognition software is from NEC. At Narita it is called Face Express.

The kiosks and self bagdrops at Narita come from Australian-based ICM Airport Technics. In 2019, Narita signed with ICM for 72 self bagdrops, planned to be installed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

N.B. Image credit: Tokyo Narita

Internet links

Haneda Tokyo International Airport (HND)

Narita International Airport (NRT)

ICM Airport Technics

NEC Biometrics