Air Canada announced on Feb. 21 that digital identification using facial recognition technology can now be used to board select flights from Vancouver to Winnipeg and to get access to its café at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The program is touted as secure and convenient, with a planned expansion to other airports and Air Canada lounges.
Currently customers need to show a boarding pass and a piece of physical ID to board a flight.
The process to create and use a digital ID using biometrics involves installing the Air Canada app, taking a picture of one’s passport photo with a smartphone, then scanning the chip with the smartphone, and finally taking a selfie to upload into the app.
When boarding one’s flight, one then has to present one’s face to a biometric reader. The process is illustrated in a video posted online by Air Canada.
Air Canada says the program is voluntary and the biometric data captured by the app is encrypted and stored on the customer’s device. It says the data is only retained up to 36 hours.
The new development was welcomed by Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.