Vueling and Barcelona El Prat trial biometric boarding

Facial recognition at self bag drop, security access and boarding

Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport is the latest airport to trial facial recognition for passenger boarding.

The trial started on 15 December 2021 for passengers on Vueling flights to Malaga.

Passengers can use facial recognition at self bag drop, security access and aircraft boarding.

To use the system passengers have to enrol their biometrics when checking in. They do this either online using the Aena mobile application or at the airport using biometric registration kiosks.

At the airport, they can go airside and board the aircraft without showing any documents – just their face.

High definition cameras at both security and a special boarding gate picture the passenger and compare the live biometrics with those given at enrollment.


At enrolment, passengers biometrics and booking details are captured and sent to Aena – the airport operator. Aena say all biometric data is deleted immediately after take-off.


The system comes from French-based IDEMIA, one of the industry’s leading players for biometric solutions.

Pascal Fallet, SVP Europe, Public Security & Identity at IDEMIA:

IDEMIA’s algorithms are proven to be highly accurate, thereby offering the best security for all parties involved and a fast and easy passenger journey. Vueling and Aena will benefit from accurate passenger identification using IDEMIA’s best-in-class biometric engine.

IDEMIA trials

Earlier in 2021, IDEMIA was involved in the introduction of a biometric boarding trial at Newark Liberty.

IDEMIA has also been involved in biometric trials at Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport, Paris-Orly Airport and between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

In 2017, IDEMIA trialled a facial recognition system on Royal Caribbean ships.

N.B. Image credit: Aena

Internet links

Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN)

Aena facial recognition

Vueling facial recognition boarding

IDEMIA border security & passenger journey facilitation