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Making biometric boarding a reality at Brazilian airports

Making biometric boarding a reality at Brazilian airports

AviationDigital TransformationGovernmentIntelligent TechnologyTop Stories

Due to technical co-operation between Infraero and Serpro, it is possible to adopt digital boarding technology at the airports of Congonhas (SP) and Santos Dumont (RJ).

The air bridge between Congonhas (SP) and Santos Dumont (RJ) airports will be the first to implement 100% digital biometric facial boarding in Brazil for passengers and crew.

The technical co-operation agreement signed at the beginning of the year between Infraero and Serpro, a technology company of the Brazilian Federal Government, foresees a combination of efforts aimed at installing, operating and improving this technology in a co-ordinated manner over both air terminals.

As part of the Embarque + Seguro 100% Digital program, created and co-ordinated by the Ministry of Infrastructure, the technology does not require identification documents when accessing the departure lounge and airplane. The objective is to make the processing of passengers and crew more efficient, agile and safe.

From October 2020 to January this year, more than 6,200 passengers participated in the test phase of the program, held at seven airports in the country. Among pilots and flight attendants, almost 200 professionals evaluated biometric boarding in Congonhas from November 2021 to January 2022.

Assignments and schedule

With the co-operation agreement, the adoption of this technology has begun on the busiest air bridge in Brazil – the fifth in the world in terms of flight flow – which may include other airports in its scope.

During the 18 months of co-operation, Infraero, which manages Congonhas and Santos Dumont, must acquire the necessary equipment for installing and operating the biometric recognition system developed by Serpro for Embarque + Seguro.

According to the agreement, the federal government technology company must provide the identity validation solution through its system. Both institutions must designate civil servants to monitor, manage and administer the execution of the work plan and jointly elaborate a report on the fulfillment of the objective at the end of the agreement.

The work schedule includes a bidding process to buy biometric devices. Between the deadline for receiving the proposals, going through the analysis of interested companies, approval and tests, the final implementation is planned for next July.

Digital Transformation

As part of the Digital Transformation program in Brazil, Embarque + Seguro was conceived by MInfra, in partnership with the Special Secretariat for Debureaucratization, Management and Digital Government of the Ministry of Economy.

In addition to Serpro and Infraero, it has the contribution of the National Civil Aviation Agency (Anac), Brazilian airport operators, airlines, Information Technology companies and suppliers of biometric reading interfaces.

Marcelo Sampaio, Executive Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure, said: “The definitive use of biometrics at our airports is something really innovative, a great strategic evolution for the airline sector. It guarantees more safety to users, speeds up boarding procedures and access to aircraft and reduces costs for companies, which will have fewer teams in these operations and less time with aircraft on the ground.”

By completely eliminating the handling of physical documents for access to departure lounges and aircraft, the initiative also conforms to sanitary protocols adopted in the air terminals over the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ronei Glanzmann, National Secretary of Civil Aviation, said: “Brazil will be a showcase for the world with biometric boarding. We are excited to use this technology on the most important air bridge in the country and we have no doubt that other airports will also adopt it.”

Caio Mario Paes de Andrade, Special Secretary for Debureaucratization, Management and Digital Government at the Ministry of Economy, highlights the agility, ease and security provided to the population by the Digital Transformation of the Brazilian government.

“It has been a revolution in aspects of culture and behavior very well assimilated by the population,” he said. The government platform, GOV.BR, already reached 123 million users against 1.8 million from when we started in January 2019.

“A proof of the Brazilian digital evolution is that now, in seconds, the identity of passengers is confirmed, making their experience at airports much faster and more comfortable.”

GOV.BR is a platform of the Brazilian government to facilitate the relationship with citizens, which now has 4,900 services, 73% of which are fully digitized.

For Gileno Barreto, President of Serpro, the co-operation agreement is an important step to making biometric boarding a reality at Brazilian airports.

“We are one step away from placing Brazil at the forefront of the airline industry. The technology, which combines data analysis and validation by biometrics, has been extensively tested and will ensure an innovative experience for all Brazilians,” said Barreto.

Barreto also emphasized that Embarque + Seguro allows a precise, agile and secure verification of each passenger that complies with the General Data Protection Law (LGPD), which aims at security in the treatment of data against misuse or unauthorized use. “This way, the passenger can travel with more comfort and tranquility,” concluded Barreto.

Brigadeiro Paes de Barros, President of Infraero, proudly celebrates that Brazil is the first country to have 100% digital boarding on an air bridge.

“Embarque + Seguro is becoming a reality after much testing and commitment from the parties involved. We continue to prioritize safety and agility in airport processes,” he said.

“In a unique and perhaps unprecedented way, we are uniting security and facilities which naturally veer to opposite sides. Embarque + Seguro will break this paradigm. We will have more facilities with much more security.”

How it works

For passengers, the procedure begins at check-in. Using their data, CPF (Brazilian Individual Taxpayer Registration) and a photo of the traveler, the airline attendant uses the application developed by Serpro to perform the biometric validation of the citizen, comparing the data and the photo taken at the time with the government databases.

Once validated, the passenger is free to access the boarding lounge and the aircraft, passing through the biometric control points that carry out the identification and validation through cameras without the traveler having to show an identification document and boarding pass. Embarque + Seguro guarantees the total protection of user data.

For crew members, when accessing the Restricted Security Area, a biometric reading device collects their facial reading and confirms the biometric parameters against the CHT Digital database, an initiative of Anac, confirming that the individual is a civil aviation crew member and the validity of the document.

If acceptable, the professional will have access released without the need to present documents, avoiding contact between him and the document access control agent via a touchless procedure.

If not, the crew member’s CHT and the air operator’s identification document can be manually verified and validated. The access control procedure, through facial biometrics, does not exempt the crew member from undergoing an airport security inspection.

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