SAS Airline: Fingerprints Ease Travel

SAS Airline is evaluating new technology to simplify check-in and boarding procedures. As part of these efforts, use is being made of biometry, a technique that can read a person’s unique characteristics. In the future, a traveler’s fingerprints could function as an identity check.
The events in the US on September 11 have meant that the authorities have intensified the security requirements for airlines and airports. It is likely that the EU and local authorities will also introduce new requirements during this year for further checks of passengers and baggage.

“The challenge we face is to raise the level of safety, while making it easier to travel at the same time,” says Peter Söderlund, who is responsible for Product Development on Ground at SAS. Biometry can provide us this opportunity, which is why we want to test this technology.

SAS is conducting an evaluation using smartcards that contain the traveler’s fingerprints. Without contact, the card is read by a card scanner. The traveler presses a finger against a screen and his/her identity is verified when the fingerprint is matched “locally” with the fingerprint stored on the card.

“Using this ‘local’ matching of the customer’s fingerprint and a smartcard, the process becomes simpler, safer and quicker for the traveler,” says Peter Söderlund. “We don’t think that our customers want to leave their fingerprints, so the information is not saved after matching is completed.”
“A fingerprint stored in a smartcard means that travelers carry their own personal information and we can thereby resolve the problem of personal integrity,” says Tommy Lundin, who is responsible for new technology at SAS.

Initially, tests are to be conducted in an internal installation at SAS’s head office and then among a small group of customers at one of the major airports in Scandinavia.


SAS has selected the Scandinavian IT Group and Precise Biometrics as partners for this project.