Singapore Changi Airport eyes passport-free travel for 2024

Young asian couple at the airport departure board
Edited by Travel Weekly


    Singapore Changi Airport is looking to keep itself at the forefront of travel innovation as it plans on radically changing the way people transition through the airport.

    Starting in 2024, Singapore Airport is looking to automate its immigration clearance, allowing travellers to depart the iconic city-state without showing a passport, according to CNN.

    This move will rely on biometric data and make Singapore one of the first few countries in the world to introduce automated immigration clearance, according to Singapore Airport’s communications minister Josephine Teo.

    Biometric technology, including facial recognition software, is already implemented at Singapore Airport and this will take the international airport to a new high.

    The ever so grandiose Singapore Changi Airport (Image source: iStock/gollykim)

    Teo said the changes will “reduce the need for passengers to repeatedly present their travel documents at touch points and allow for more seamless and convenient processing.”

    What this means is that biometrics will be used to create a “single token of authentication” to be employed at several automated touch points – including immigration and boarding – that remove the need for a passport.

    Singapore Airport isn’t the only travel industry player looking to minimise passports.

    Margy Osmond, the CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum, is thinking similarly and said the Aus-NZ border should be trialled for a “seamless” test case of what international travel could be.

    “It’s about having laneways for Australian-New Zealand travellers that are easier and quicker,” Osmond said.

    “Border formalities could be slashed by linking each passenger’s travel documentation to ­facial recognition technology. You could identify trans-Tasman passengers as they pass various points between baggage check-in and boarding their aircraft, without them needing to stop or ­produce passports, travel documents or even boarding passes.

    “When passengers drop off their bags before their flight, you could use facial-recognition technology along with a digital arrivals card, which they would have already submitted, to assess each passenger during their flight.”

    Alongside this, some US carriers have also been experimenting with biometric check-in and airports in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Delhi and London have been experimenting with facial recognition technology.

    (Featured Image: Young couple at the airport departure board – iStock/Koh Sze Kiat)

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