Tampa International Airport tests biometric face scanners

Tests focus on international flights

By Julie Salomone
Copyright 2019 CNN

Test focused on passengers boarding outbound international flights.

TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa International Airport plans to spend $1 million on biometric face scanners by 2020.

The new technology will be used on passengers boarding outbound international flights.

"If it works, I'm for it. I have no problems with it. They can recognize my face all they want," said passenger Jose Pagan.

ABC Action News got a look at the new technology as passengers boarded a flight to Panama City on Friday.

As a passenger walks towards the biometric scanner, the device will scan their face and compare it to a database. The new technology replaces the need for a passenger to show his or her passport at the gate.

If the face matches, the machine will clear the passenger.

"On the exit side, we are installing three different technologies on three different gates at our international airside, airside F," said John Tiliacos, Executive Vice President for Airport Operations and Customer Service.

During this 30-day pilot program, the airport will test out three different vendors to see which technology is the best fit.

"At the conclusion of that pilot program, we will make a determination on which of the three service providers work best for us," said Tiliacos.

By 2020, Tampa International Airport will have the face-scanning technology at all 10 gates where passengers are leaving the country on international flights.

"The camera takes a photo of the passenger and that photo is compared to a library of photos that exist within U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection traveler verification system," said Tiliacos.

"This will make the boarding process faster, and eventually, could be used for inbound flights as well. We can't wait to see the results," said Danny Glennon, Guest Services Director.

To date, fewer than 10 U.S. airports have rolled out the screening.

"We've talked with Orlando. We've had the opportunity to observe the system there. Miami, the same thing there and seems to be working quite well," said Tiliacos.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.