French airports enter the era of biometric gates
As soon as they were installed last june, the biometric gates in the Marseille Provence Airport proved a hit with the public. "The four gates installed early July were so popular with passengers that we recorded up to 1,400 ID checks a week," said airport director Pierre Régis. The PARAFE fingerprint identification-based gate system was first introduced at the two Paris airports in November 2009. Initially brought in for European and Swiss nationals on international flights (outside the Schengen Area), this border-crossing system meets very stringent requirements on the part of border police: it checks that only one person is in the gate, detects abandoned luggage and then verifies the passenger's identity. The 27 gates now in service in Paris have allowed border guards to focus on other missions. A benefit for travelers
The system was originally intended only for travelers - mostly frequent-flyers - who had registered beforehand in a dedicated airport office. The registration process which consisted in checking their eligibility and recording their fingerprints was a bit of a nuisance for the passengers. As of April 2012, French passengers with a biometric passport can use the system without any prior formalities. The number of people using the gates is steadily growing and will shortly top one million travelers a year. This very easy-to-use system is appealing to travelers: "We've been pleasantly surprised," said Pierre Régis. "Shorter queues are a real convenience for our travelers, who can now spend more time in the duty free area. It's a win situation for them." A system with a future
" We will now be targeting deployment of our systems in other international airports throughout France," explained Jean-Paul Jainsky, Morpho Chairman & CEO. With a very low rejection rate - less than 3% - and proven technology, biometric gates are an iron-clad investment. In the future, other biometrics such as face or iris registration, might be added to the PARAFE system, it should make life easier for the millions of travelers using European airports.