Miami Airport expands facial recognition to more departing passengers

Facial recognition now in use at over 20 more international departure gates.

Miami Airport has launched a big expansion of its successful biometric boarding system.

Previously, a small number of airlines used the facial recognition system to board passengers on international flights leaving from Concourse J.

The success of the new biometric system to replace the traditional system of boarding pass and passport means the airport can expand the biometric system.

Those airlines included LATAM, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic.

Now, many more passengers departing from Departure Concourse J are using the facial recognition for departures instead of the traditional boarding methods.

More international airlines are now using the facial recognition checks, including:

  • Avianca
  • Copa
  • Emirates
  • Turkish

MIA has always been a leader in technology and expects to introduce biometric boarding from all international passenger gates in 2023.

When finished, it will be the largest implementation of biometric tracking at any U.S. airport. 

How it works

The boarding egate uses a high definition camera that is connected to the US CBP facial matching systems – and probably other systems.

The egate takes a picture of the passenger (i.e. captures their live biometrics).

Those biometrics are compared with those in the CBP database.

If all is OK, the passenger can board. If not, then ….

For passengers, the process is simple and usually takes no longer than the traditional method.

More about MIA and biometrics

Lufthansa now using biometric boarding at Miami

MIA trials booked TSA screening times

MIA plans biometric boarding at all gates in 2023

Is it compulsory?

US citizens – NO

US folk can opt out and use the normal passport and boarding pass checks for boarding.

Non-U.S? YES.

You have to do it.

Biometrics on arrival at Miami

All passengers arriving at international arrival points at Miami already have their biometrics taken.

Data Privacy

Maurice Jenkins, CIO at Miami airport, told the Miami Herald that the CBP ensure all ecurity encryption has been tried and tested and assurances given that data has not been leaked in any capacity.

Maurice also said that airlines don’t keep photos of passengers faces after they board flight and that once flights take off only customs agents can access passenger photos.

I know Maurice. At IATA, I worked on behalf of the airline industry with Maurice to introduce CUSS kiosks at Miami – very successfully.


The biometric egates come from SITA, a long time partner with MIA.

In 2019, MIA worked with SITA and CBP to trial biometric boarding.

In 2015, MIA signed with SITA for a total of 80 ABC (automated border control) egates for use at passport control.

SITA partners with NEC for the biometric system.

Internet links

Miami International Airport (MIA)

CBP Biometrics


SITA Smart Path

NEC I:Delight