Research released today from Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) reveals that there is considerable support from air travellers for the introduction of biometric security measures. SAS regularly canvasses more than 500 members of its frequent flier programme, EuroBonus, to gauge members’ views on their business travel needs. Just over half of respondents (53 per cent) believe that the introduction of biometric security will help protect passenger identity and restore confidence in airport security.
SAS’ latest survey demonstrates that educating passengers about biometric security is an increasingly important issue for the aviation industry. Sixty per cent of the respondents agreed that government and immigration agencies should be able to share biometric information.
Whilst over half the respondents are in favour of the introduction of biometric security, over a third (36 per cent) admitted that they did not know enough about biometric security to make an informed decision. A further 11 per cent of respondents felt the introduction of biometric security would result in an invasion of their privacy.
Just under eighty per cent (79 per cent) of respondents felt that the government should foot the bill for the additional costs that the introduction of biometric security will bring. Eleven per cent felt the airports should cover the cost of biometric security and just ten per cent of respondents believed that passengers themselves should pay.
SAS became the first airline in the world to introduce biometric security checks (18 September 2006), when the airline commenced trials at Lulea in Sweden. Passengers checking in baggage have their index finger scanned and their fingerprint recorded. The information is stored in SAS’ passenger register and correlates with the details on the baggage tag. A second fingerprint scan is carried out at the departure gate, ensuring that the person who checked in the baggage is the same person who boards the aircraft.
All information is automatically erased when the customer completes the journey*. SAS’ ultimate plan is to roll out biometric security across Sweden, Norway and Denmark**.
Lars Ove-Filipson, General Manager SAS UK & Ireland said: ‘SAS has always been at the forefront of technological innovation and we are delighted to be setting the global bench mark for biometric security with our trials in Sweden. Our latest research demonstrates the need to introduce biometric security in a clear and structured manner so that the travelling public feels informed. SAS is dedicated to ensuring that air travel is efficient and biometric security saves time for customers and SAS.’
SAS is conducting regular research amongst its EuroBonus members. The results will be released through regular ‘Poll of the Month’ updates and will include members’ views on a variety of travel-related issues.