WestJet and TELUS partner on Trusted Boarding trial

By WestJet | | 4 min read
Innovative guest boarding solution showcases the future possibility for touchless and secure boarding options for Canadian travellers
Trusted Boarding trial

Innovative guest boarding solution showcases the future possibility for touchless and secure boarding options for Canadian travellers 

Yesterday, WestJet, together with TELUS, trialled Trusted Boarding, a touchless process that uses safe and secure facial verification technology to verify travellers’ identity prior to boarding a flight. The trial was the first-of-its-kind in Canada and took place at the YYC Calgary International Airport. 

“The travel experience is evolving to include many touchless processes and WestJet is innovating to ensure our guests’ travel journey improves to become more seamless and efficient, while prioritizing safety above all,” said Stuart McDonald, Executive Vice-President and Chief Information Officer. “The Trusted Boarding trial is a union between technology and WestJet that would in the future help our agents and our guests with contactless document validation.”

WestJet’s Trusted Boarding trial demonstrated that the responsible use of biometric boarding technology provides sufficient document validation and prevents non-authorized individuals from boarding an aircraft. Trial guests boarded WestJet flight 8901 through facial verification with their digital identity wallet on Embross’ Canadian made biometric hardware and boarding application at Gate 88. The trial marked the first step towards the implementation of the technology as WestJet works with the Government of Canada to seek full approval for its use as a safe and secure alternative for future WestJet boarding at Canadian airports.

“As air travel gradually reopens, the passenger experience continues to evolve. Our groundbreaking, built in Canada solution allows travellers to enjoy a secure, touchless identity verification experience, while ensuring they are able to maintain control of their personal data,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, Chief Technology Officer, TELUS. 

Stuart McDonald, WestJet, Executive Vice-President and Chief Information Officer Stuart McDonald, WestJet, Executive Vice-President and Chief Information Officer

“This level of control establishes and increases consumer trust by addressing privacy, security, and ethical data risks from the start, while providing transparency to customers.”

Trusted Boarding supports a more digital Canada using Canadian innovation. It employs a self-sovereign identity ecosystem (the creation of unique, private and secure connections between two trusted parties) through a TELUS-provisioned digital identity wallet in a smartphone application for IOS and Android. It provides contactless document validation, where a facial verification scan is matched with a traveller’s documentation that has been uploaded to the app prior to boarding. Importantly, the app ensures users retain control of their personal information at all times, meaning they can securely share their verified personal credentials and revoke access when the data is no longer needed.

The identity platform was developed by one37 and document integrity validation is provided by Oaro, ensuring the solution follows all data protection and privacy regulations covered under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

Additional Quotes:

“OARO is so proud to be part of this industry leading trial. The addition of biometrics to the travel journey provides a much improved airport experience moving us closer to a more safe and secure contactless travel experience.” - Mike Maxwell, Aviation Lead for OARO

“As a global leader in passenger self service solutions, the Trusted Boarding initiative heavily aligns with our vision of empowering travellers and providing them with a seamless and convenient travel experience. Continuing Embross' decade-long technology partnership with Westjet, this collaboration with Telus and partners, marks a great example of Canadian-developed technologies benefiting Canadian travellers. We're excited to see the success of the initiative and work with regulatory authorities to bring that benefit to travellers across Canada.” - Myles Tzelepis, VP Product & Marketing, Embross

"Taking the hassle out of travel is long-overdue. Using the one37 platform, travellers can now securely and privately share their data with WestJet, cutting the wait time, and skipping the lines, while enjoying a contactless experience. This pilot with WestJet, a visionary airline, and TELUS, a leader in digital transformation, is ushering a new era of travel by enforcing trusted data exchanges between all stakeholders.” -  Fadwa Mohanna, CEO, one37