Touch-Free Technology, Procedure Changes Come to DFW Airport

Staff Report | DFW Newsflash | July 2020

The Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport will be employing new policies and technology to make travel safer in a post-COVID world.

With the help of technology by Infax Inc., as well as internal changes, DFW Airport is working with DFW-based American Airlines to introduce safer measures for air travelers. Measures will include self-check-in for luggage and entirely “touchless” restrooms. DFW will also be providing three technology options for luggage check-ins: Amadeus’s ICM, SITA, and Materna IPS.

According to figures from travel analytics firm Cirium, DFW Airport is the world’s busiest airport. This is in part owed to a strategy by American Airlines to focus a large portion of its pandemic flying through DFW Airport.

In 2019, DFW Airport introduced technology that registers your face as your boarding pass for international flights. The mandated restriction and delay in international travel provided time to work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to use the VeriScan technology for arriving travelers as well.

Delta was the first to open a biometric terminal in Atlanta in 2018, and some airports in Europe and Asia employ the use of facial recognition technology. However, a U.S. government study found racial bias in the technology. The European Union also considered banning use of the technology publicly citing privacy concerns.

Ultraviolet technology that can kill germs before they circulate into the HVAC system are also being considered for use at DFW. Recently, the airport deployed electrostatic foggers and hired 150 people who repeatedly physically sanitize high-touch areas within the terminals. Donahue explained the decisions come from an equal priority of efficiency as well as a desire to illustrate tangible, noticeable changes.

While suspending about $100 million of capital programs and reducing its second-half operating costs by around 20 percent, DFW Airport has invested several million dollars additionally in its sanitation budget to ensure safety and security for their passengers.

Nearly 114,000 customers went through DFW Airport on July 11, substantial in the circumstances but still just about half of last year’s daily volumes.

Touchless technology for employee temperature checks have been tested, but DFW Airport is not currently planning to integrate temperature checks for passengers.