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Facial Recognition Pilot Project at Madrid Airport evolves into broader Contactless Passenger Experience

  • The AENA airports authority, Iberia, Inetum and Thales partner in this ambitious project, supported by Spain’s Industrial Technology Development Centre (CDTI).
  • It uses biometric identification of passengers with tablet-type devices.
  • Project aims to increase security while speeding procedures in the airport.
  • It will help comply with new health and safety measures for airports in the context of Covid-19.



The national airports authority AENA is part of a consortium including Iberia, Inetum, and Thales, carrying out an innovation project to find new ways to operate in the air travel industry with health measures to fight Covid-19.


The proposed project uses biometrics to identify passengers using mobile devices. It aims to provide a smooth the airport experience while drastically reducing physical contact, to further enhance the safety of all airport procedures.


The use of tablets also makes the solution mobile and flexible, meaning that a limited number of units will be sufficient to deal with a large number of flights to different destinations. In addition, the system boasts improved detection capabilities, making it possible to identify passengers even when wearing face masks.

The initiative is being supported by the CDTI, Spain’s industrial technology development agency, through a research and development cooperation programme, thus contributing to the improvement of the technological level and digital transformation of Spanish enterprises via the development of innovative ideas.


This R&D programme complies with the new measures of contactless security. It will be built around the facial recognition pilot running at the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport and will serve in the development of new features. They will be integrated them into a single process using a dedicated application as well as new security and boarding controls.


With this aim, leading companies in their respective industries are collaborating to achieve the necessary development and validation. These are the airline Iberia, as and airline, systems integrator Inetum, Thales for the identity verification and biometric technology and airport operator AENA who is responsible for the intermediate integration systems between airline and biometric engine.