Credit: AirAsia Group

Credit: AirAsia Group

Malaysia launches first airport facial recognition system in Johor Bahru airport

According to a report by the New Straits Times, AirAsia launched its own airport facial recognition system at the Senai International Airport, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

AirAsia’s Fast Airport Clearance Experience System (FACES) is a facial recognition system that enables passengers to board their flight at self-boarding gates without having to present any travel documents.

Officially launched at the Senai International Airport, Johor Bahru, FACES is fully owned and operated by the AirAsia Group. It is the first airline in Asia to use biometric facial recognition technology to facilitate the check-in and boarding processes.

According to AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, the system aims to transform on-ground experience while speeding up security clearance and boarding process in a step towards digitising its airline operations.

The Home Ministry is looking at the possibility of using AirAsia’s FACES at airports nationwide, according to the Star.

At the launch event, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the Immigration Department is monitoring the implementation of the system at the Senai International Airport.

“The system will complement existing security systems at airports in the country for enhanced safety and security,” Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed commented.

He also expressed hopes that Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and AirAsia can discuss rolling out this system at other airports nationwide.

The Senai International Airport is the first Malaysian airport to pilot this technology. According to AirAsia Deputy Group CEO Aireen Omar, 3,000 passengers had passes through the system during the 1-month trial for domestic flights at the airport last year.

MMC Corp Bhd Group Managing Director Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh commented that “the initiative will further enhance passenger’s travelling experience and airport operations efficiency with faster security and screening processes, specifically to accommodate the growing number of passengers travelling through this airport.”

Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh also forecasted that passenger traffic will increase by 16% to 3.6million this year.

According to another report by the New Straits Times, FACES has an 80% success rate in identification. It claims to reduce the boarding process to between 9 and 11 minutes, from 11 to 13 minutes on an average procedure.

Adult passengers can enrol at kiosks located at the check-in area at the Senai International Airport. The enrolment is a one-time process, until the identity document expires which passengers will need to register again. Passengers simply have to place their MyKad or chip-enabled passport in the document reader and look at the camera to create their biometric token.

Registered travellers are identified as they approach the auto boarding gate and allowed to board their flight directly. FACES does not include immigration and border processing, as the first phase is focused on the use of facial recognition at the airport security checkpoint and boarding.

Mr Fernandes said he hopes FACES would serve as inspiration to other airports in the country to implement the system and revolutionise the way people travel.

According to the report by the Star, AirAsia is in the midst of rolling out the facial recognition system for passengers departing from Senai to Macau and Don Muang Airport in Bangkok.

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