Search AeroXplorer
This Airport Will Be the World's First to Stop Using Passports

This Airport Will Be the World's First to Stop Using Passports


Starting next year, one of the world's busiest airports will not require passengers to have passports. Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) will introduce automated immigration clearance that uses biometric data to scan departing passengers. The system will expand on the biometric technology and facial recognition software already used at the airport's immigration checkpoints.




As of 2022, Singapore is home to the world's ninth-busiest airport by international passenger traffic and Asia's fourth-busiest by total passengers. Therefore, the airport needed a more efficient system to accommodate high passenger traffic. Aside from Singapore's popularity as a travel destination, many passengers use the airport as a connecting hub due to its strategic location in Southeast Asia. 


Photo: Peter Lam | AeroXplorer


Josephine Teo, Singapore's Minister for Communications and Information, spoke about the changes during a parliament session on September 18. The session focused on amending Singapore's immigration policies and improving airport operations.


In the session, Teo said: "Biometrics will be used to create a single token of authentication that will be employed at various automated touchpoints, from bag-drop to immigration and boarding. This will reduce the need for passengers to repeatedly present their travel documents at these touchpoints, allowing for more seamless and convenient processing."


Photo: Marc Alexander Ching | AeroXplorer


Singapore Airport will identify passengers with fingerprint scans and facial recognition. Passengers will no longer need to take passports, visas, or other physical travel items. The first phase will launch in early 2024 by introducing QR code scanning points. The airport operator will collect data from all passengers and crew passing through Singapore Airport.




According to the parliament session, there are four motives for data collection:

  1. Bag drop, access control, and gate boarding
  2. Tracking passengers within the airport for security reasons
  3. Unloading baggage belonging to passengers who did not board the flight 
  4. Verifying passengers' identity and tax liability for duty-free purchases and Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds


Photo: William Pierre | AeroXplorer


The biometric system will simplify the lives of both passengers and the airport. Passengers no longer have to wait in long immigration lines or constantly have to present their travel documents. Meanwhile, the airport can more effectively handle operations and maintain security. Singapore's Personal Data Protection Act ensures that data collection will only happen for authorized purposes.


Singapore Airport is continuing its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The airport saw 5.15 million passengers in August, a 55% increase from the same month in 2022. Passenger traffic has passed pre-pandemic levels: the airport last recorded more than five million passengers in January 2020. The gradual rise in passenger traffic over the past year suggests Singapore will continue attracting business and leisure travelers.


Photo: Benedict Kwan | AeroXplorer


Singapore Airport is known worldwide for its cleanliness and amenities. The airport frequently ranks highly in international airport rankings. In March, Skytrax named Singapore Airport the world's best airport for the 12th time. The airport previously won first place in Skytrax's annual World Airport Awards for eight consecutive years from 2013 to 2020. Other accolades include the world's best airport for dining and leisure amenities and Asia's best airport.




Singapore Airport has amenities that passengers will not find in the average airport. These amenities include an indoor waterfall, a tropical garden, a butterfly garden, a movie theater, and a rock climbing wall. Passengers on long layovers can visit the city itself through free guided tours. However, passengers may not want to leave the airport since it's a tourist attraction.


Photo: Thomas Tse | AeroXplorer


Singapore Airport is one of many airports to use biometric technology. Airports in major hubs across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia use facial recognition and fingerprints to identify passengers. However, what makes Singapore different is that passengers do not have to show their passports for international flights. This initiative could provide suggestions on what the future of travel looks like.




















 AeroXplorer is on Telegram! Subscribe to the AeroXplorer Telegram Channel to receive aviation news updates as soon as they are released. View Channel 

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment



NEWS Singapore Airport Immigration Passport Technology SIN Changi Airport World's Best Airports


Etihad Airways to Use Airbus A380 on Abu Dhabi-New York Route Etihad Airways will use the Airbus A380 on its route between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) starting April 22, 2024. The double-decker aircraft is essential to accommodate the growing demand for travel to Abu Dhabi. Etihad's A380s are famous for their luxurious onboard experience, including the world's only three-room suite in the sky through The Residence. NEWS READ MORE »
Qantas' Airbus A220 Livery Features a Story Through Aboriginal Art Qantas has revealed its inaugural Airbus A220 aircraft, featuring a captivating Aboriginal-inspired livery. Set to join QantasLink, its regional subsidiary, the aircraft was showcased at an Airbus facility ahead of its anticipated arrival in Australia. This aircraft showcases the Aboriginal artwork of senior Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker, narrating the 'dreaming story of two sisters who traverse remote Australia together, covering vast distances to find their way home,' as outlined in a statement from the airline. NEWS READ MORE »
How Do Airlines Decide Which Aircraft to Use on a Route? It may seem like a simple answer—easy: airlines fly their biggest planes on the routes with the most demand. In some ways, this is true—no doubt airlines would deploy a 737 over a CRJ900 for a route like New York (JFK) to Denver (DEN), given the demand on the route. Demand isn't everything, however. Aircraft range plays a major role as well. Other niche factors play large roles, too, and in this article, we'll explore how airlines decide which aircraft to use on certain routes. INFORMATIONAL READ MORE »


NEW!AeroXplorer Aviation Sweater Use code AVGEEK for 10% off! BUY NOW