Sydney Airport to replace passport check with facial recognition

“In future, your face will be your passport and boarding pass”

Passengers at Sydney Airport now have the opportunity to experience a less hectic system of identity check. In cooperation with an Australian airline Qantas, the airport has launched a “couch-to-gate” biometrics technology trial that, once fully tested, will allow passengers using their face as their access identification.  

The airport has teamed up with Qantas to launch a  “couch-to-gate” biometrics technology trial — Ryan Fletcher / Shutterstock Sydney Airport to replace passport check with facial recognition
The airport has teamed up with Qantas to launch a “couch-to-gate” biometrics technology trial — Ryan Fletcher / Shutterstock


The initial phase of the trial is focused on four key steps in the passenger journey, namely automated check-in, bag drop, lounge access and boarding. Future trials might include mobile check-in and automated border processing.

“In the future, there will be no more juggling passports and bags at check-in and digging through pockets or smartphones to show your boarding pass – your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process,” said Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert.

Culbert said that the trial was the most extensive biometrics trial to date and was part of a broader focus on investing in technology to make the airport experience easier and more convenient for passengers.

“We’re very excited that select Qantas passengers now have the chance to experience this highly sophisticated technology as part of this landmark trial,” he said.

“We’ve worked with Qantas from the outset and are delighted to be partnering with them as we trial this technology.”

Qantas Chief Customer Officer Vanessa Hudson said the airline was focused on increasing the use of technology to drive innovation for customers.


“One of our core commitments at Qantas is to make travel as attractive, convenient and enjoyable as possible,” she said.

“There is an increasing need for airlines and airports to offer faster and more convenient airport experiences and we’re excited to see what results the trial produces.

“Qantas customers will not only be able to check in for their flight using the technology, it is also available for our lounge staff who can create a more personalised experience when passengers arrive.”

With more than 43 million passengers passing through the Sydney Airport every year, Culbert hopes the investment in new technologies could improve the airport experience and make the process faster.  

To participate in the trial, all passengers must provide their consent.