Elevating the business potential in the airline sector by optimizing passenger procedures

By Henry Patishman, Executive VP of Identity Verification Solutions at Regula


Through digital transformations, the aviation industry is adopting new tools for verifying identities that can make the check-in process faster and more convenient for their customers. The final expected outcome of an updated identity verification process contributes to reliable security and business growth.

According to Regula’s identity verification report, more than half (58%) of the companies in the industry have already adopted a modern identity verification (IDV) solution. Moreover, 92% of companies plan to do so in the upcoming 1–3 years. The adoption of IDV solutions will continue to increase, with most survey participants (78%) indicating that they expect digital identity to replace traditional ones in the foreseeable future.

Adopting an IDV solution involves spending on operations and resources, in addition to implementing significant changes in the ways identity checks are traditionally carried out (manually or semi-automatically). Though existing processes might be old and complex, they still work. Despite this, companies in the industry are choosing to invest in new technology. Here’s why.

Exceptional safety

Passenger identity verification is a crucial protocol for every airline, primarily aimed at ensuring safety. Unlike several other sectors where fraudulent activities often revolve around financial fraud, Aviation faces a distinct challenge. Successful fraud in this realm could lead not only to financial setbacks but also compromise physical security. The potential consequences of such breaches are tremendously significant and should not be underestimated.

Last year, Aviation businesses encountered an average of 12 identity fraud incidents, leading to costs exceeding USD220,000 on average. These expenses stem predominantly from three key areas: business disruption, legal expenses, and penalties/fines.

In most cases (46%), businesses in aviation dealt with fraudulent or modified physical documents—essentially, attempts at impersonating someone else during interactions with personnel or systems. Such scenarios require solutions that boast exceptionally accurate and reliable verification technology. This is fundamentally why airlines opt for the transition to digital IDV solutions: a reduction in security risks (51%) and legal vulnerabilities (37%) emerged as the primary factors when participants were queried about the key success indicators for IDV solution implementation.

Safety and regulatory requirements impact the passenger experience significantly. One should go through multiple checks before they fasten their seatbelt on an airplane, and those checks are casually perceived as an unpleasant necessity. Such is the nature of security enhancements: whenever an extra layer is introduced to bolster safety, it tends to come at the expense of user experience. Identity verification stands as a rare exception to this rule. Not only does it enhance security, but it also contributes to an improved user experience—an assertion confirmed by the findings of Regula’s survey.

Growing business

Although the foremost objective of IDV solutions revolves around ensuring accurate passenger identification, security, and regulatory requirements aren’t the only reasons why aviation is integrating digitalized IDV solutions. In addition to security, this technology permits deploying features like online identity verification, streamlining the process to the point where identification at the airport is nearly paperless.

Implementation of these features makes it possible to speed up and ease the process of verification, thereby improving the customer experience and reducing the average time spent on a single customer.

These benefits result in the expectation that IDV not only protects a company and its customers’ identity data but also provides opportunities for increasing revenues and the customer base. A notable proportion (36%) of survey respondents pointed to this outcome as a key indicator of a successful IDV implementation.

Curiously, the survey findings align with our firsthand interactions with clients within the airline sector. A notable instance involves Wizz Air Hungary, renowned as Europe’s fastest-growing and most sustainable airline. The airline posed a challenge to us: create a solution that not only provides the highest level of security to the identity verification process but also amplifies customer loyalty and satisfaction with the onboarding service. Through our collaborative efforts, we devised a solution that not only upholds stringent security standards but also enhances the customer journey, concurrently reducing expenses associated with printing and paperwork. This innovation streamlined the customer check-in procedure while concurrently introducing cost efficiencies for the airline.

In another example, AirAsia was able to reduce the time of customer enrollment to only 30 seconds per person–thanks to their facial recognition boarding system FACES, which works together with our ID verification technology. This streamlined system enables individuals to complete check-ins at their convenience, from any location, all within a time frame of less than a minute.

In essence, while IDV initially seems centered around security, its true essence extends far beyond that aspect. The worth of this technology resides in the potential it holds for fostering business growth. This is an important consideration one might want to use when considering whether to invest or not in an IDV solution.

About the Contributor 

With 30+ years of experience in forensic research and the largest library of document templates in the world, Regula creates breakthrough technologies in document and biometric verification. Their hardware and software solutions allow over 1,000 organizations and 80 border control authorities globally to provide service without compromising safety, security or speed. Regula was named a Representative Vendor in the Gartner® report “Market Guide for Identity Proofing and Affirmation in 2022.

About the Author

As Executive VP of Identity Verification Solutions, Henry Patishman drives Regula’s strategic initiatives across different industries in the cutting-edge field of identity verification and biometrics. Henry has a broad view and extensive experience across the entire breadth of the IT industry, particularly in digital transformation, security and data storage. He has held senior global positions with multiple global tech companies, such as ABBYY and ACA Pacific. Henry graduated from Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, with two degrees: Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science.