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Biometrics holds the key to smarter digital travel

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New SITA white paper highlights how biometric-driven IT solutions are being successfully rolled out around the world.

GENEVA – In 1930, there were only around 6 000 passengers travelling by air. By 1934, this had risen to just under 500,000*. Fast-forward to 2019 and it had exploded to 4 billion travelers. In fact the International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects 8 billion air travelers annually by 2040. The demand for air-travel is booming.

To prepare for this, 425 major construction projects (worth around US$450 billion) were already put underway at existing global airports. The industry also invested in 225 new airport projects in 2022, according to the Centre for Aviation. Bricks and mortar infrastructure is only part of the solution though. Without state-of-the-art, adaptable digital solutions, airlines and airports will struggle to manage passenger numbers. “This will affect the quality of the travel experience they’re able to deliver.”

SITA’s Biometrics White Paper, “Face the Future” highlights how the surge in air traveler numbers places extraordinary pressure on existing and new airports, national borders, and airline resources. In short, “existing paper-based and manual travel infrastructure and legacy processes simply won’t be able to cope”.

The solution, explains SITA, is in harnessing the power of facial and fingerprint biometrics to create a smoother, safer, and slicker air transport experience. By applying advanced technological solutions SITA will also solve other industry challenges, like space constraints, specialist staff shortages, and evolving passenger wants and needs.

The white paper takes us behind the scenes by showcasing successful case studies like the Star Alliance Biometric initiative and the Indian government’s DigiYatra program. Both cases use the end-to-end biometric passenger processing solution SITA Smart Path.

Stefan Schaffner, VP of Airports at SITA, explains: “SITA Smart Path biometrically enables every step of the passenger journey, from mobile enrollment to aircraft boarding and every point in between and beyond. With facial recognition across as many airport touch points as you need, it lets passengers manage their identity across their whole journey, in a unique and touchless way. The final result is a radically improved travel experience.”

The white paper goes on to outline more solutions using advanced biometrics technology. These include SITA Flex, a common-use passenger processing platform, and SITA Border Management, which covers border control, risk intelligence, and travel authorization. Both solutions are well recognized in the industry today and used by more than 40 airports globally. The white paper also breaks down SITA’s Digital Travel Credentials (DTC) solution, a hotly anticipated verifiable digital identity shared before arrival (with the passenger’s consent) for seamless border crossing.

As a member of both the IATA’s One ID initiative and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s DTC, SITA is leading the way in rolling out border-grade DTCs. They’re also helping define rigorous standards around passenger identity management within biometrics. An exciting example is how SITA DTCs were used to create Aruba’s Happy One Pass, a collaboration which lets passengers arriving at the Caribbean island nation of Aruba “can now disembark at international arrivals and cross the border without stopping or even showing a travel document”.

The future of air-travel is clearly outlined in the white paper – one that’s safe, ethical, and fully embraces biometrics. It emphasizes the need to prioritize privacy, flexibility, and adaptability.

The white paper’s release, along with its case studies and insights, reveals that the future of travel isn’t some distant concept anymore. It’s happening now. The global demand for travel is rising, and biometrics is at the forefront of this transformation.

 

 

(*Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)


Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.






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Certares-led consortium enters into an investment agreement with the FTI Group

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FTI GROUP partners with Certares-led Consortium to secure €125 million for growth and digital transformation, positioning itself for enhanced profitability in the European tourism sector.

The FTI GROUP, the third largest tour operator in Europe, announces that an agreement has been reached which concludes the process to strengthen the capital and restructure the shareholder base of the Company originally launched in September 2023.

A consortium led by Certares, an investment firm specialized in the travel and tourism sector, with capital provided by co-investors (the “Consortium”), has signed an agreement on the proposed acquisition and funding and will assume control.

Under the terms of the Agreement, FTI will receive new capital of € 125 million to support its next phase of growth and fund digital transformation. The current shareholder has accepted to provide financial support and further investment. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and other condition precedents as are typical for transactions of this type.

Karl Markgraf

Karl Markgraf, CEO of the FTI Group

Karl Markgraf, CEO of the FTI GROUP, stated: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with the Certares-led Consortium. Certares is a leading investor in the global travel and tourism sector. With support from Certares and its extensive experience in the sector and capital provided by the Consortium, FTI is uniquely positioned for future growth and profitability which benefits all the stakeholders, including our customers, commercial partners and employees. We are committed to start our next chapter of success and to further consolidate our position as a leading player in the German and European tourism sector.”

Who is who

Established in 2012, Certares is a global investment firm focused exclusively on the travel and hospitality industries, leveraging deep sector experience, proprietary transactions and hands-on partnership with management teams to drive growth. With approximately $ 10.1 billion of assets under management, including co-investments, as of 31 December 2023, Certares brings together a team with decades of both operational and investment experience in private equity, travel, tourism, hospitality and travel-related business and consumer services.

Delta, Certares and Knighthead in a strategic partnership

With its numerous brands and subsidiaries, the FTI GROUP is the third largest tour operator in Europe. It includes FTI Touristik as well as the short-term tour operator 5vorFlug, the car rental broker Drive FTI, the destination management company Meeting Point International, which is active in over 40 locations worldwide, and the tour operator for promotional goods BigXtra.

Under the umbrella of the hospitality company MP Hotels, the company bundles its hotel brands Labranda Hotels & Resorts and Design Plus Hotels, Kairaba Hotels & Resorts, Lemon & Soul Hotels, Club Sei and Managed by MP Hotels. TVG Touristik Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH combines the franchise systems with the brands sonnenklar.TV Reisebüro, 5vorFlug and Flugbörse. Around 10,000 partner agencies sell FTI products throughout Germany.

The TV travel shopping channel sonnenklar.TV, an FTI GROUP partner, and the online B2B provider for accommodation Youtravel are also important sales channels. The consolidator FTI Ticketshop is responsible for the sale of scheduled flight tickets. In Austria, FTI Touristik is represented by a branch in Linz.

FTI expects highly successful winter 2023/24

The subsidiary FTI Touristik AG, based in Basel, represents the tour operator in Switzerland. The French tour operator FTI Voyages has been part of the FTI GROUP since 2012. With FTI Reizen, the group has also been active in the Netherlands since 2016. The seven service centres handle numerous bookings for the FTI GROUP and external customers. Headquartered in Munich, the Group employs over 11,000 people worldwide and generated consolidated sales of around € 4.1 billion in the 2022/23 financial year.


Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.






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Air New Zealand Buys 9M Liters of SAF from Neste

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Air New Zealand has agreed to purchase 9 million liters of
neat sustainable aviation fuel from producer Neste, the carrier announced
Monday. Neither company disclosed the value of the deal. 

The fuel will be produced at Neste’s Singapore refinery and
will be blended with conventional jet fuel and supplied to Los Angeles
International Airport between April 1 and Nov. 30, 2024, according to the
carrier. Air New Zealand expected its total fuel uptake during that period to
be about 850 million liters across its network.

The carrier said the deal is the “largest purchase of
SAF from Neste by any airline outside of North America and Europe for delivery
before the end of 2024.”



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AmaWaterways reports best UK sales month in history

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March traded 74% up year on year, sales director says



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