Airport terminal before Mexico's biometric kiosks

Mexican Airports Replacing Check-Ins with Biometric Kiosks

You may save a lot of travel time during your next trip to Mexico. Starting this month, three Mexican airports have officially introduced biometric kiosks to automate the passenger check-in process. This is the first attempt that Mexico has made to introduce the new technology.

Most tourists to Mexico should be familiar with Cancún International Airport, a popular international hub for those looking to experience sunshine and waves. It will be a flagship airport adopting the biometric kiosks.

Mexico’s Ministry of the Interior has confirmed that the biometric kiosks have also been rolled out in Mexico City International Airport and Los Cabos International Airport. Flora Patricia Martínez, the Ministry’s representative, announced 100 new kiosks across the three airports. Forty kiosks have been launching in Cancún, forty in CDMX, and the remaining 20 in Los Cabos. The goal is to streamline the check-in process of the 48,000 passengers they receive each day.

Launching the new technology in these airports is crucial, Martínez believes. They are by far the most popular airports in Mexico. Combined, they received 75% of Mexico’s tourists via air travel, “hence the importance of having channeled these airports.”

What Are Mexico’s Biometric Kiosks?

The goal of the project is to use the new technology to eliminate waste and redundancy when identifying visitors. The current system is tedious and inefficient, reducing the speed at which visitors may be identified and cleared.

Photo: a check-in line at Aeropuerto Cancún. Photo by Christian Córdova

It is important to note that the system is still in the early stages of adoption. The end goal, which is without a clear date, is to automate the full admission process for Mexican citizens and non-citizens who do not require visas.

Gerardo Ruiz Esparzo, Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transportation said, “the installation of these kiosks represents another example of the implementation of state-of-the-art technology in Mexico, aimed at preserving the safety of people and their goods, as well as facilitating activities related to aviation. Automating the entry of domestic and foreign passengers who do not require a visa is achieved by capturing biometric data (fingerprints, photography and scanning of the passport), which quadruples the capacity of passenger attention for each migration agent.”

With these biometric kiosks, the Mexican government is modernizing the way it accepts foreign and domestic visitors. Officials say that the new kiosks cut the visitor check-in time down to two-and-a-half minutes. This improved efficiency will save the cities both time and money currently spent on manual processes.

How do the Kiosks Work?

Little is known about the technology behind the biometric kiosks. According to Planet Biometrics, the kiosks will collect and process only the standard information travelers are used to giving today. Visitors will place their hand upon the kiosks to have their fingerprints scanned. Once the kiosks have confirmed their identity with the INM (National Institute of Immigration) database, they will allowed to leave the airport and enter the country.

Enrique De la Madrid, the Secretary General of Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism said, “As visitor numbers at international airports grow, the need for migration agents grows as well, but we have the technology to help us overcoming that challenge. This automation will ensure security and facilitate the arrival of visitors to the country.”

Featured photo: The self-check-in counters for AeroMéxico. Photo by Paul Sullivan.

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