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Air Canada Launches Digital Identification Facial Recognition Technology

A first for a Canadian airline, Air Canada has launched digital identification with facial recognition technology for identity verification. A pilot program is currently underway at Vancouver International Airport for customers traveling to Winnipeg.

Air Canada Launches Digital Identification, Becoming First Canadian Airline to Offer Facial Recognition for Identity Verification - Courtesy Air Canada

On Tuesday (February 21, 2023), Air Canada announced the launch of digital identification, becoming the first airline in Canada to offer facial recognition technology to confirm customer identity. Currently, a pilot program is underway at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) for customers traveling on select flights to Winnipeg, and also for eligible guests entering the Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). As part of the next phase of the pilot program, Air Canada plans on expanding digital identification to select Canadian airports and Maple Leaf Lounges.

In Tuesday’s announcement, Air Canada’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Craig Landry, said,

“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. 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. Participation in digital identification is voluntary. Customers choosing to use digital identification will benefit from a simplified and seamless process at the gate and when entering our Maple Leaf Lounges.”

Also commenting on the facial recognition technology rollout, the Government of Canada’s Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, added,

“Our government and Canadian airlines and airports are eager to move forward with innovative solutions and technologies to modernize the traveller journey in airports across the country, which would enable a more seamless and efficient air transportation system. Air Canada's pilot project will speed up processes at YVR, and other airports where it’s established, while respecting robust privacy measures and security standards. This project has great potential in making gate boarding easier and faster for Canadian passengers, while maintaining strong safety measures.”

Air Canada Launches Digital Facial Recognition Identy Verification Program - Courtesy Air Canada

Customers eligible to use the Air Canada Café in Toronto, and customers on select flights from Vancouver to Winnipeg will receive an e-mail invitation to use the digital identification option, along with instructions on how to create a secure digital faceprint prior to arrival at the airport. Digital identification is a single enrollment feature on the Air Canada app, and the biometric data is encrypted and stored only on the customer’s mobile phone. Customers will also be required to provide consent for the data to be used on the day of travel, which will only be retained for up to 36 hours, subject to Air Canada’s rigorous privacy and security standards. Air Canada’s digital identification program is a completely optional and consent-based, and is not related to any government-sponsored program such as NEXUS, Global Entry or U.S. CBP Mobile Passport Control (MPC).

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline. The Canadian flag carrier is a founding member of the Star Alliance and the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking from Skytrax. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service to 51 airports in Canada, 51 in the U.S. and 88 internationally. Through the carrier’s Aeroplan loyalty program, customers can earn and redeem points on the world’s largest airline partner network of 45 airlines. Air Canada Cargo offers air freight lift and connectivity to hundreds of destinations across six continents with a dedicated fleet of 767-300 Freighters and passenger aircraft belly hold capacity. Additionally, the airline has committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

Source: Air Canada


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