Star Alliance, NEC and SITA sign agreement to expand touchless journeys across member airlines

Passengers will soon be able to use their biometric ID as their boarding pass across a vast network of airlines and airports 

Frequent flyer program customers of Star Alliance member airlines will soon be able to use their biometric identity across any participating operator or airport. 

The agreement was made between Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, the NEC Corporation and SITA, and is aimed at accelerating the availability of biometric self-service touchpoints while delivering a faster, touchless airport experience. Connecting to SITA’s Smart Path solution, the Star Alliance Biometrics platform will be able to use SITA’s shared airport infrastructure, which is already available in more than 460 airports.  

Star Alliance
Photo Star Alliance 

“This agreement is instrumental in bringing further scale to our biometrics service, with the inherent benefits of speed and meeting customer expectations for a more touchless and hygienically safer experience across all of our member airlines,” said Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance. “Biometrics is a key element of that experience and our strategy of leading the way in digitalising the passenger journey.” 

A further advantage is the NEC I:Delight platform, which allows passengers who have opted to use the service to be identified quickly and with a high-degree of accuracy, and can be easily integrated with the SITA Smart Path. The I:Delight platform is also able to recognise passengers even when wearing a mask, which has become an increasingly important feature for travel during the current pandemic. The platform is already in use by Star Alliance member airlines at several airports in Europe.  

Masakazu Yamashina, Executive Vice President of NEC, said: "NEC is honoured to join this three party partnership with Star Alliance and SITA. While the impact of COVID-19 continues, we are pleased to lead the creation of seamless and touchless travel. NEC is committed to providing a safe and comfortable customer experience through our NEC I:Delight identity management solution."  

Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SITA, added: “Together with NEC, SITA is pleased to be supporting Star Alliance in bringing the full benefits of biometric identity to their member airlines. Passengers have long welcomed the advantages of control and speed automation brings to the passenger journey; a trend that has been accelerated by COVID-19. That is truly unique and demonstrates the benefits digital identity can bring to the passenger.”