Air Canada facial recognition

Air Canada is now using facial recognition software in Toronto and Vancouver

Air Canada announced today that it has launched a pilot project using facial recognition technology, becoming the first airline in Canada offering travellers the new option of confirming their identification.

The digital-identification pilot would help reduce long boarding lines by not having to stop and have the airport crew check passenger's IDs one by one.

Those not comfortable with having their face scanned can still check in manually with their boarding passes and ID, as use of the digital identification technology is still completely optional.

"Customers choosing to use digital identification will benefit from a simplified and seamless process at the gate and when entering our Maple Leaf Lounges," said Craig Landry, Air Canada's executive vice president and chief operations officer.

The airline would collect the biometric data via a single enrolment feature on their mobile app, which they say would remain encrypted and stored only on a customer's mobile device.

Customers must provide additional consent for the data to be used for day-of travel, which will only be retained for up to 36 hours by the airline.

“This project has great potential in making gate boarding easier and faster for Canadian passengers while maintaining strong safety measures,” said Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra. 

For now, the technology is only available for customers travelling on select flights from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Winnipeg, and for those entering Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport, though they plan to expand to other Canadian airports and lounges soon.

Lead photo by

Air Canada

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