From January 21, 2020, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) will implement a 45-day pilot of biometric screening technologies at three international gates to help US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) process departing passengers. Biometric screening is designed to verify travellers’ identities by cross–checking facial scans with photos already on file with the federal government. The CBP has been mandated by federal law to use biometric exit screenings for foreign nationals (excluding Canadian citizens who don’t require a visa to enter the US and diplomatic and government visa holders).
“We are excited to welcome this new technology to the airport,” said PHL Airport CEO Chellie Cameron. “Working with our partners at CBP and our airlines will ensure our continued dedication to safety and security.” As a partner to CBP, PHL will install equipment to capture facial images of travellers exiting the US CBP will install the system for travellers entering the country.
The test of three types of biometric systems, veriScan, NEC and SITA, will be conducted at gates A15, A16 and A17 for select outbound international flights on Qatar, British Airways, Lufthansa and American Airlines. As per CBP guidelines, “travellers who do not wish to participate in this facial comparison process may notify a CBP Officer or an airline or airport representative in order to seek an alternative means of verifying their identities and documents.” CBP discards all photos of US citizens within 12 hours of identity verification.
After the pilot programme is complete, an analysis will be conducted through until May 1 to determine which technology performed the best. Full implementation could take up to one year.