Air Canada trials digital identification with facial recognition technology

Air Canada has launched digital identification, becoming the first airline in Canada with approval to offer customers the convenience of a new option using facial recognition technology to confirm identification.

In a pilot project announced on February 21, 2023,  Air Canada’s digital identification became available for customers departing from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) when boarding certain flights to Winnipeg and for eligible customers entering the Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Air Canada plans to expand digital identification options to select Canadian airports and Maple Leaf Lounges as part of its pilot project phase.

In a pilot project currently underway, Air Canada’s digital identification is now available for customers departing from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) when boarding select flights to Winnipeg, and for eligible customers entering the Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport. (CNW Group/Air Canada)

Customers eligible to utilize the Air Canada Café in Toronto and customers on select flights from Vancouver to Winnipeg will receive an invitation to use the digital identification option and instructions on how to create their secure digital faceprint before arriving at the airport.

Customers who do not wish to utilize digital identification may board as they currently do by presenting their boarding pass and government-issued photo ID for manual ID check and processing. Likewise, customers may elect to continue scanning their boarding cards manually as they do now to enter the Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson.

Digital identification is a single enrollment feature on the Air Canada app.  Biometric data is encrypted and stored only on the customer’s mobile phone. Customers must provide additional consent for Air Canada to use the biometric data on the day of travel. Air Canada will retain the data for up to 36 hours, subject to the airline’s rigorous privacy and security standards.  

More information about digital identification is here.   

Air Canada’s digital identification is strictly an optional, consent-based Air Canada program. It is unrelated to any government-sponsored program such as NEXUS, Global Entry or US CBP Mobile Passport Control (MPC).