Easier border control options at Palma airport. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


Vueling has become the first airline to introduce voluntary biometric facial recognition at the airports of Palma, Minorca and Ibiza, in addition to Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat and Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas.

In the next few weeks it will also do so at Tenerife Norte and Gran Canaria airports, although the airline’s intention is to implement it at all airports in the Spanish public network before extending it to Europe.

The IAG group company has moved ahead of companies such as Iberia, Air Europa and Binter, which are also working on the implementation of voluntary facial recognition, a system that is widespread mainly in the United States, but not so much in Europe.

The infrastructure is provided by Spanish airport authority AENA, which manages the biometric data, and each airline applies it in its system.
At the moment, at Palma airport there are four boarding gates for biometric recognition, and two gates at each of the Ibiza and Minorca airports.

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Javier Álvarez, Vueling’s director of technology, says: “The aim of voluntary facial recognition is not so much to make the travel process faster, but to make it simpler, so that our customers don’t have to stress about having to print out a piece of paper or show their documentation and boarding card.”

The new system passed a pilot test that Vueling carried out two years ago on the Barcelona-Malaga route and has been in operation since last November.

Although the company does not have data on the percentage of users who are already using voluntary facial recognition, Álvarez said that it has been highly praised by customers who have used it “because it has made their journey easier”.

Vueling believes that in about three years, customers will use biometric recognition as a natural part of the travel process, as has happened with the ‘checking on line’ that allows you to carry the QR on your mobile phone.

But don’t leave your ticket and ID at home when you have to fly. Facial recognition does not replace them, even if it makes the journey more comfortable.