Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Uses Biometrics To Verify Airport Worker Identity

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has awarded Unisys Canada Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unisys Corp. a contract to supply, integrate and manage a new identification management system, using fingerprint and iris biometric technology to verify the identities of airport workers at 29 airports throughout Canada.

The new system, based on commercial off-the-shelf products from ImageWare Systems, will replace the existing application used in CATSA’s Restricted Area Identification Card (RAIC) system. The RAIC system enhances aviation security by verifying the identities of airport workers via biometrics and ensuring that only those workers with security clearance are permitted to enter restricted areas. It also allows CATSA to update the security clearance status of all 100,000 airport workers instantly at all airports across the country.

The contract will run two years, followed by two additional two-year option periods. Unisys will also provide data management, integration and project management services for the deployment of the new version of the RAIC application. Additional services will include training, preparation of training material and provision of technical support once the application is deployed.

The RAIC system uses contactless smart cards, fingerprint and iris readers located at entry points to restricted areas and enrollment equipment which communicates with the airport’s access control systems. Airport workers scan smart cards in readers, which extract the biometric data. The user then undergoes a fingerprint or iris scan which is matched against the data on the card.

ImageWare Systems Inc., subcontractor to Unisys, will provide its IWS Biometric Engine Border Management Solution, a Web-based, multi-biometric ID management system for the CATSA project. The ImageWare product is the centrepiece of the new RAIC application, responsible for enrollment of airport workers, capturing and processing their biometric data, and issuing biometric-enabled smart cards.

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