The new feature is available on select flights from Vancouver.

Air Canada has announced the launch of digital identification technology for select flights from Vancouver International Airport.

It is the first Canadian airline with approval to use such technology.

Becoming more innovative

In a world that is becoming more and more innovative each day, airlines and airports are looking to implement new technologies that improve the passenger experience. Such features include airport maps with GPS directions in airline apps, bag tracking, bag drop shortcuts at airports, mobile boarding passes, and even biometric technology for boarding aircraft. Today, Air Canada announced it was the first Canadian airline to receive approval to begin using digital identification technology for select flights out of YVR and its Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Using facial recognition technology, Air Canada will digitally identify its clients when boarding certain flights to Winnipeg. In the future, the airline hopes to expand the use of the technology to other Canadian airports and its Maple Leaf lounges.

“Many of our customers already utilize digital credentials to simplify their daily activities such as unlocking mobile phones, entering workplaces, verifying identification during financial transactions and more. We are very excited to now take a leadership position in Canada and test digital identification using facial recognition technology to validate customer identification quickly, securely and accurately at select airport touchpoints.” Craig Landry, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Air Canada

Passengers on flights eligible for the use of the new digital technology will receive a notification inviting them to use the technology and with instructions on signing up before their flight. Those not wishing to enroll can proceed normally with mobile or paper boarding passes and a government-issued photo ID.

Photo: Air Canada

Landry added,

“Participation in digital identification is voluntary. Customers choosing to use digital identification will benefit from a simplified and seamless process at the gate and when entering our Maple Leaf Lounges.”

According to the airline, biometric data is only stored on each mobile device and can only be collected with passenger content. The information may be held “for up to 36 hours subject to Air Canada’s rigorous privacy and security standard.”

Recent Air Canada news

Last week, Air Canada released its financial earnings for Q4 2022 and the entire year. Though the airline posted a yearly loss of $137 million, the airline’s financial situation has improved. In 2021, Air Canada posted a $2.26 billion loss as it struggled to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Air Canada

During the last quarter of 2022, Air Canada experienced record operating revenues of $3.47 billion. In the same period in 2021, the airline lost $366 million.

“We are pleased with our fourth quarter and full year 2022 financial results. We reported record fourth quarter passenger and operating revenues, surpassing our results from a year ago and those of the fourth quarter of 2019. This was due to solid demand and yield environments across our network.” – Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Canada

As the airline plans its routes and flights for 2023, it hopes to reach 90% of its pre-pandemic capacity and to fully recover by next year.