Single-token biometric technology to be fully implemented in KLIA and klia2 in two years

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KUALA LUMPUR(March 6): Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) aims to implement its single-token biometric system in full at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and klia2 within the next two years.

“After the three-month pilot programme at KLIA, we plan to roll out the single-token biometric system starting in the middle of this year,” MAHB’s senior general manager (information technology) Lee Yiang Ming told a press conference here today.

“This is not a small investment, as some of these gates (to facilitate the technology) are fairly expensive. We need to look at commercial and operational viability as well. So, we think the right time frame is at least one-and-half years to two years to fully implement this technology in these airports,” Lee said.

The three-month pilot programme or proof of concept, which began on Jan 29 this year, involved passengers on two daily Malaysia Airlines Bhd flights, one to Narita International Airport, Tokyo and the other to Kansai International Airport, Osaka.

Malaysia Airlines teamed up with aviation information technology company Sita to facilitate this service for its passengers.

As for klia2, Lee said AirAsia Group is piloting its own facial recognition technology there.

To standardise the boarding process across these airports, Lee said klia2's technology will eventually incorporate the equipment for single-token biometric systems that is being used at KLIA.

“It is better for us as an airport operator, [and better for] immigration [control] and safety of the country, as well as that of the passengers,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, Lee said MAHB has set aside about 5% to 8% of its capital expenditure of up to RM600 million announced in May last year, for the implementation of this single-token biometric system.

To recap, the full capex announced was for use over three years as part of MAHB's asset replacement exercise, which includes upgrading the baggage handling system and aerotrains at KLIA.

MAHB's share price closed 21 sen lower at RM6.01 today, giving it a market capitalisation of RM9.96 billion. The counter saw some 4.72 million shares traded.