Facial recognition technology at Shannon Airport

Facial recognition technology at Shannon Airport

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Shannon Airport has become the first airport in Europe to have facial recognition technology introduced for U.S. preclearance.

This is good news for Shannon Airport transatlantic passengers as it speeds up their journey through the airport and allows them avail of shorter security screening times than at other airports.

The new technology is a further boost to Shannon which back in 2016 became the first airport in the world to operate a combined EU and US TSA checkpoint systems, halving the time spent in security screening at other preclearance airports.

The introduction of the new facial technology system in recent months has seen Shannon become the first airport outside the Americas to use facial biometrics to verify the identity of travellers about to enter the US.

The programme has already been successfully implemented in several US airports and was also extended to Aruba Airport in the Caribbean.

The facial recognition technology essentially verifies passengers by matching them to the documents they are presenting.

It will not alone enhance security but also speed up screening, with airports in the US now processing up to ten people per minute with the new cutting-edge system.

It has been operating successfully in Shannon since its installation and is the latest pre-clearance first for the airport.

The installation of the service is timely for Shannon, with the airport enjoying its busiest period on transatlantic operations for 17 years, with seven services to six destinations.

The facial recognition technology is now in use at Shannon Airport – Photo: Eamon Ward

Operations Director at Shannon Airport Niall Maloney said: “Being the first airport in Europe to have this ground breaking technology installed reaffirms Shannon’s status in transatlantic aviation. We were the first to get preclearance and now we’re the first to pilot this technology.   Ultimately, the big gain here is that this the latest enhancement to passenger services at Shannon. We’re coming to the end of our busiest summer season on transatlantic since the early part of the last decade and anything that speeds up queues and enhances security is a major plus.”

Shannon Airport Managing Director Andrew Murphy added: “We are delighted that US Customs and Border Protection has selected Shannon for this pilot.  We’ve had an excellent working relationship with them since Shannon, in 2009, became the first airport outside the Americas to have US preclearance.

“This means that we have the most efficient and reliable systems in place for passenger screening for the US. That’s good for security but also very good for the passenger.”

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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