Air Canada becomes first airline to test facial recognition tech for ID verification in Canada

Facial recognition tech - Air Canada Plane

The major Canadian airline has launched digital identification.

Air Canada recently announced the launch of its facial recognition tech, becoming Canada’s very first airline to receive approval to offer its customers the security and convenience of a new digital option to confirm their identification.

Air Canada’s digital identification offers customers a seamless boarding option.

The digital identification offered by the airline is a single enrollment feature on the Air Canada app. The biometric data of the customer is encrypted and stored only on the customer’s mobile phone. For the data to be used day-of travel, the customer must provide additional consent and their data is only retained for up to 36 hours subject to Air Canada’s “rigours privacy and security standards”.

Facial recognition tech - Air Canada - airport

Customers who are eligible to use the digital ID feature will receive an invitation to use the digital identification option. Those who wish to use the facial recognition tech will be provided instructions on how to create their secure digital faceprint before they arrive at the airport. Those who do not wish to take part, can simply board as they currently do now, by presenting their boarding pass and government-issued photo ID for manual identification check and processing.

The digital ID facial recognition tech is currently available only at select airports in Canada.

Air Canada’s facial recognition tech pilot project is currently underway and is presently available for customers departing from Vancouver when boarding select flights to Winnipeg, and for eligible Air Canada customers who enter the Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport. As the pilot project phase continues, the airline plans to expand its digital ID options to select Canadian airports as well as Maple Leaf Lounges.

“Many of our customers already utilize digital credentials to simplify their daily activities such as unlocking mobile phones, entering workplaces, verifying identification during financial transactions and more,” said Craig Landry, Air Canada’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. “We are very excited to now take a leadership position in Canada and test digital identification using facial recognition technology to validate customer identification quickly, securely and accurately at select airport touchpoints.”

Air Canada’s digital identification facial recognition tech is a100 percent optional and consent-based program. It is not in any way related to government-sponsored programs like NEXUS, US CBP Mobile Passport Control, or Global Entry.

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