The benefits of biometrics will be lost to the travel sector without a seamless system across all modes of transport.
A call for common standards and resources to develop the technology was made by the head of the World Travel & Tourism Council.
President and CEO Gloria Guevara urged Iata to avoid fragmentation while pushing for faster global implementation of biometric passenger recognition.
The WTTC has found at least 53 different implementations and trials in six regions across the world, she revealed.
“As an industry, our efforts are fragmented, with competing agendas and no end-to-end seamless journey currently in development,” Guevara told the Iata annual meeting in Seoul.
“It was recently reported that 71% of airlines and 77% of airports are currently investing in either researching or implementing biometric programs. We applaud each of these efforts, while also calling for the aviation industry to overcome fragmentation.
“Governments around the world are waiting for the private sector to align around a common standard and framework that can work across the entire travel and Tourism sector regardless of the individual technology provider.
“If we end up with multiple solutions in each country that do not connect, the costs will be significant and we risk losing the very benefits which biometric technology will bring,” she warned.
“Rather than operating in silos, it is crucial that we together in pursuit of the common aim: a solution that will support the full end-to-end seamless traveller journey incorporating multiple airports, multiple airlines, car hire companies, hotels, booking agents, cruises and other players in the travel ecosystem.
“This will allow us to have higher-level support from governments, and to move faster to achieve higher growth.”
Describing biometric technology as the future of travel, Guevara said: “It’s very simple: the faster we act, the faster we all reap the benefits of growth that accompany the adoption of biometrics – namely increased security, efficiencies and a better traveller journey.
“We have missed the opportunity to have a single solution; so it is crucial that we move faster to define the global standards for the use of technology in the traveller journey.
“We know that, according to Iata the number of air travellers will double by 2037. And it is clear that we will not see an increase of 100% in existing infrastructure, so it is important to get this right.
“Those companies which support and adopt biometrics early will have a competitive advantage in the market, so it’s up to airlines to support Iata in this important task.”