Airport execs team with TSA to develop biometric solutions

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and a number of representatives from key airports across the country are working in tandem with the Transportation Security Administration to create a biometric-based solution for the next generation of aviation worker credentialing and access control.

The effort -- known as the Biometric Airport Security Identification Consortium (BASIC) -- is aimed at utilizing the experience and expertise of the airport community to ensure that ongoing efforts to deploy biometric-based systems in airports come to fruition as quickly as possible in a manner that does not disrupt airport operations or diminish security.

Participants include representatives from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; Logan International in Boston; Dulles International in Washington, DC; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which controls JFK, LaGuardia and Newark International airports), and seven other major international airports around the country. Recent discussions among these executives and TSA representatives have identified several key principles to guide development and implementation of future biometric-based credentialing and access control systems, including:

• Safeguards on local control and issuance of credentials,
• Leveraging of existing capital investments and resources,
• Open architecture and local determination of qualified vendors, and
• Phased implementation that migrates over time.

"Airports have a robust history of credentialing and access control experience," explained AAAE President Chip Barclay. "In addition, according to a recent survey conducted of AAAE airport members, a significant number of airports have already implemented biometric-based systems at their facilities."

Barclay added that current discussions build on that experience. "The goal of the BASIC working group is to take the pieces of the puzzle that already exist and build on the necessary components for the next generation of credentialing and access control in such a way that make sense for airports," he said.

Membership in BASIC is open to all commercial-service airport representatives as well as aviation industry association representatives.

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