Iberia Launches Facial Recognition App at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport

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Iberia, along with the Spanish airports and air traffic control authority Aena, IECISA, Gunnebo, and Thales companies, today unveiled a facial recognition pilot project at Iberia’s hub in Terminal 4 at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, with the aim of improving customer experience at the airport by enabling customers to identify themselves at both general and fast-track security control and at the boarding gates with their biometric profile, eliminating the need to show travel documents.

The new system will be tested during a period lasting between six and twelve months with Iberia passengers bound for Asturias or Brussels, both destinations served with up to five daily Iberia flights. It is a pioneering project allowing users to register via an app on their mobile devices, and also available on the kiosks placed at check-in counter 848 and in front of the security control area of T4. The facial recognition system is also installed at T4 boarding gates J40 and J58.

It is easy to sign up for this capability using the Iberia App and clicking on “Personal Area”. The user is asked to take a photograph of his or her photo ID, and then to take a brief “video selfie”, which allows system software to verify there is a good match between them. The biometric profile is then transmitted to the Aena database. Before the flight, customers will have to associate their boarding pass to Asturias or Brussels with its biometric profile, so that when they check-in online, the system will offer them the possibility of using facial recognition to go through security control and boarding gate. More information on how this system works on this video:


Passengers may also register their biometric profiles via the Aena app or at the kiosks in T4 of Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, where they must scan the QR code of the boarding pass and associate it with their profile.

The registration process need be performed only once during the testing period.

Requisites for using of the facial recognition system are the following:

  • To be of legal age.
  • Passengers using their cell phones to register must hold a v. 3.0 Spanish National Identity Document (DNI), as issued since 2015. At the T4 kiosks passengers can use any valid Spanish DNI or European passport.
  • To have a cell phone with an Android OS as an NFC reader. This system will soon be available for users of the iOS.
  • To have an individual reservation for any Iberia flight to Asturias or Brussels.

A process, fruit of collaboration

The facial recognition pilot project is the fruit of collaboration by Iberia, as the  operating airline of the flights where it will be tested and developer of the hosting cell phone app; Aena, as owner of T4 in the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport and of the database where registered passengers’ biometric profiles will be stored; IECISA, with the Digital OnBoarding and One ID solutions, and the registration airport kiosks; the Swedish company  Gunnebo, which installed the automatic doors equipped with intelligent cameras in both general and fast-track security control, as well as at the boarding gates; and Thales, whose LFIS biometric engine integrates the data processed by Aena’s systems with the identification requisites for accessing aircraft.

Gabriel Perdiguero, Iberia’s Chairman and CEO, commented: “Facial recognition and the recording of biometric profiles via our application are a part of our project of connected operations and will enable our customers to have a better experience in T4, which is the main reason behind Iberia’s commitment to innovation.”

The facial recognition pilot project is part of the airline’s sweeping digital transformation programme which include a new 100% digital culture and experience by connecting all operations involving customers and employees, along with a new push toward innovation and the search for new business opportunities. Other recent advances include the addition of a virtual assistant on WhatsApp (+34 676 676 004) for requests in Spanish, two Iberia skills in Alexa, Amazon’s voice device, the Bag on Board service, and the chatbot on the iberia.com app for mobile devices and Facebook Messenger.