S. Korea’s Incheon Airport implements facial recognition system for travellers

The facial recognition service is available at six departure gates and 16 boarding gates at South Korea's Incheon Airport from July 28. - Bloomberg file

SEOUL (The Korea Herald/Asia News Network): Incheon Airport said it has begun using pre-registered facial information to streamline the departure process for passengers from Friday (July 28).

Dubbed the “facial recognition smart pass service”, the newly launched service allows passengers to quickly pass through the identification process at departure and boarding gates without having to show their passports and boarding passes to security personnel.

Both South Koreans and foreign nationals can use the service, which will be available in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

The service is available at six departure gates and 16 boarding gates at Incheon Airport, starting on Friday. Full implementation of the system across all facilities at Incheon Airport is scheduled from April 2025.

The airport aims to eliminate the repetitive process of travel document examinations for its staff and customers.

“We expect that this introduction of smart pass service in time for the peak summer season (for overseas trips) will greatly help ease congestion caused at airports,” said Incheon International Airport Corp president Lee Hag-jae.

The usage of the service is currently limited to passengers who travel with Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Jeju Air, Jin Air, T-way Air and Delta Air Lines.

The airport said it aims to expand this to passengers of other airlines when the service is fully implemented in 2025.

“The level of aviation security is expected to increase significantly (with this service) as human biometric information is difficult to falsify and duplicate due to its unique characteristics,” an Incheon Airport official said.

But he emphasised that passports and boarding passes should be carried at all times, as the documents will still need to be submitted for assessment during the immigration inspection process.

In order to use the new service, passengers must either download the ICN Smartpass application on their phones from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store, or use the self check-in kiosk machines at the airport to register their facial information with the smart pass service.

Such processes must take place 30 minutes prior to using the service at the departure gates or boarding gates, in order for the facial recognition service to upload the passenger’s biometric information into the system.

Once uploaded, the information can be used for five years, starting from the point of registration.

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South Korea , Incheon , airport , facial , recognition


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