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Tampa International Airport preparing to roll out biometric screening for boarding process

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Posted at 7:14 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 19:40:02-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa International Airport is getting ready to roll out innovative technology at some of its gates.

If you have an international flight in the near future at TPA, you could soon be using biometric screening technology.

“It’s a much faster process. It cuts the boarding time practically in half,” said John Tiliacos, TPA’s Executive VP of Airport Operations.

TPA said the technology is getting ready for use after a years-long pilot program. Airport staff say right now, they have eight biometric scanners installed exclusively at international airline gates.

“It’s a touchless experience,” said Tiliacos. “You no longer have to hand passport and boarding pass back and forth.”

tpa biometric scanner

Here’s exactly how it works: TPA said when someone walks up to a gate, the scanner will take a picture and compare that with the passport photo on file with Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“It compares your photo to a library of photos with US Customs and Border Protection, and the US Customs communicates with the airline's departure control system, verifies that you’re on that flight, and you board the aircraft,” said Tiliacos.

TPA said it all works in a matter of seconds. The airport gave this example of just how fast the technology could speed up the boarding process: it said a plane carrying about 130 passengers will be able to board in 11 minutes, while the current average boarding time for an aircraft of that size is about 30 to 40 minutes.

It’s innovation you could soon see elsewhere to improve your airport experience.

“It’s eventually going to evolve in how passengers check in at the ticket counter, their experience at the TSA security check point, and we envision a day when passengers will no longer have to stop and check in with anyone. It’s all automated,” said Tiliacos.