Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Hosts Biometrics Event for Aviation Industry Leaders

Published: February 28, 2019

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Earlier this month, nearly 70 executives from airports, airlines and other aviation-related businesses and government agencies gathered at Washington Dulles International Airport for an information session and live demonstration of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s newly developed veriScanTM facial-recognition technology for airport and airline security.

The veriScan technology provides a way to process passengers for boarding flights, clearing security and other functions that is faster, more efficient and less expensive than other solutions currently on the market. The veriScan process fulfills congressionally mandated biometric exit requirements for international flights from the United States. 

“We created veriScan in-house to securely, expeditiously and economically solve the biometric exit challenge at our own airports and to improve the journey of our passengers,” said Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority President and CEO Jack Potter. “It’s an airport solution designed by an airport, with direct input from the aviation community. Already, we have seen improvements in boarding speed and simplicity as airlines have begun using the system for international flights.”

Federal regulatory agency representatives at the Dulles International gathering, including Director of Passenger Systems and Biometrics for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nael Samha and the Transportation Security Administration’s Dulles Federal Security Director Scott Johnson, reinforced the importance of innovative technologies that meet a federal mandate for biometrics. In addition, attendees were able to view the boarding of a Korean Air flight using veriScan.

Airports Authority Chief Information Officer Goutam Kundu shared background on the origins of the Airport Authority’s MWAA Labs innovation team, while a panel of security experts from United Airlines, JetBlue and Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport shared their experiences with using veriScan and biometric technology for passenger processing. Since the Airports Authority began offering veriScan to international flights leaving Dulles International and Reagan National airports last year, a number of other airports and airlines have begun using the technology, which was developed by the Airports Authority’s Office of Technology.

“The Airport’s Authority’s innovation products, including veriScan, were created to fill a void in the aviation market,” said Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Chief Information Officer Goutam Kundu. “As an industry, we need high value, low cost solutions that address the requirements of a quickly shifting aviation landscape. What we found was that commercial solutions being offered in the market didn’t fit these criteria, so we developed our own solutions for our airports. These solutions worked so well, that we realized that we could become the community partner that could fill that gap.” 

Since its launch in July 2018, veriScan’s functionality has been piloted in four airports with 27 airlines on 420 flights – processing more than 61,000 passengers with a successful first-time verification rate of more than 98.5 percent. Several airlines at Dulles International, including United Airlines, Air France-KLM, Scandinavian Airlines, Emirates and Cathay Pacific now use veriScan to expedite passenger verification on departing international flights. At Reagan National, JetBlue uses the system to expedite passenger boarding on their international flights to Nassau, Bahamas.

Using proprietary software loaded on a portable tablet, veriScan encrypts and sends high-resolution photos of passengers boarding international flights to the U.S. Customs Traveler Verification Service for nearly instant identity verification. When integrated with airline boarding systems, veriScan further streamlines and expedites the boarding process by eliminating the need for boarding passes.

The Airports Authority’s IT team and veriScan will be on display as a finalist in the 2019 SXSW Interactive Innovation Showcase awards event hosted in Austin, Texas from March 8-11, 2019.

For more information on MWAA Labs and the veriScan product, please visit http://www.airportveriscan.com


About the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority 
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority operates the U.S. Capital Region’s gateways to the nation and the world, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport, as well as the Dulles Airport Access Highway, the Dulles Toll Road and construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Metrorail public transit system through northern Virginia. A record 47.5 million passengers passed through the two airports in 2018.