KLIA’s facial recognition technology throughout passengers’ journey

The concept is being piloted for a period of 3 months in collaboration with MAB and SITA, available for flights to Tokyo and Osaka


PASSENGERS travelling to Japan were the first to experience the single-token journey concept at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) recently. The concept utilises facial recognition technology providing passengers with a single identification verification that will take them through the entire airport touchpoints from check-in to the boarding gate. It is part of the airport’s 4.0 initiative that aims to transform KLIA into a smart airport through the use of big data analytics.

The concept is being piloted for a period of three months in collaboration with Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) and SITA, the world’s leading air transport specialist in communications and information technology. During this period, passengers on two daily MAB flights to Narita International Airport, Tokyo, and Kansai International Airport, Osaka, will get to enjoy this convenience.

Facial recognition scanners have been placed at check-in counters H5 to H8, and e-gates have been placed at security screening touchpoints and boarding gates. Passengers on these flights will only need to scan their faces to verify their “token” at all the touchpoints. They are no longer needed to present their passports or boarding passes when going through these checkpoints.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) acting group CEO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said the single-token journey concept is a testament to the organisation’s continuous commitment in improving services at its airports.

“Our main focus in moving forward is to strengthen Malaysia’s position as an aviation hub. We will ensure that services at our airports are at par with other megahubs around the world.

“Harnessing technology for this purpose is one way we can simplify airport processes for our guests. This initiative is especially timely in view of Visit Malaysia 2020. We expect to have a successful pilot so that we can implement this in totality at KLIA,” he added.

MAB group CEO Captain Izham Ismail (picture) said the single-token journey concept is a collaboration with MAHB, which will allow passengers to enjoy reduced check-in time and identity verification within seconds.

“As this is a trial period, we will make this option available first to passengers flying into Tokyo and Osaka to gather feedback and monitor their acceptance rate.

“The single token will also help manage the queue at our check-in counters, especially during peak periods, and we hope to fully adopt this system by the fourth quarter of 2020,” he said.

SITA Asia-Pacific president Sumesh Patel said: “SITA is delighted to be a partner of MAHB for its Airports 4.0 digital transformation initiative. With SITA Smart Path, your face becomes your boarding pass and passport, eliminating the need for passengers to provide travel documents repeatedly throughout the airport.

“We look forward to working with MAHB and MAB to deliver an elevated customer experience through this new biometric technology for identification management.”

The single-token biometric identification approach no longer requires checking of any physical identity at the various multiple checkpoints because all data have been disseminated to all relevant parties such as the airlines, immigration and customs.