Singapore's Changi Airport going passport-free prompts shocking confession from AM host Ryan Bridge

  • 21/09/2023

The news that one of the world's best airports will go passport-free from next year prompted an admission from Ryan Bridge that shocked his AM co-hosts on Thursday morning.

He said he always carries his passport in his knickers, so he doesn't forget it.

Starting in 2024, officials say Singapore's Changi Airport will introduce automated immigration clearance, which will allow passengers to depart the city-state without passports, using only biometric data.

Biometric technology, along with facial recognition software, is already in use to some extent in Changi Airport at automated lanes at immigration checkpoints. But the upcoming changes will "reduce the need for passengers to repeatedly present their travel documents at touch points and allow for more seamless and convenient processing," said Singapore's Communications Minister Josephine Teo.

Biometrics will be used to create a "single token of authentication" that will be employed at various automated touch points – from bag drops to immigration clearance and boarding – eliminating the need for physical travel documents like boarding passes and passports.

Bridge said on AM that the development "won't really help" him as you still need your passport at immigration into countries you're flying into from Singapore.

"But you won't have to do the old 'where did I put my passport', so it would save time there" said AM host Laura Tupou.

"Your passport should always be in your knickers - that's where you keep your passport in the airport so you don't lose it," Bridge said, to laughter in the AM studio and visible shock from Tupou.

"What? That's not normal, Ryan," she said.

"It's so that you can always feel it on your skin," he said, mimicking pulling a passport from the hip area under his pants.

"Just down the side - not down the back side, just down the side so that it's touching your skin."

"Wow," said AM host Michael O'Keeffe. "I apologise to any immigration officer who has had to let Ryan Bridge into the country."

Bridge added "to each their own" and joked Changi Airport was introducing the change to avoid dealing with "sweaty passports".

"Ew!" said Tupou, adding that the passports should be sanitised.

Changi Airport's move is part of a global move toward seamless travel that has been catching on and biometric identification could soon be the future of travel, observers say.

In 2018, Dubai International Airport introduced biometric "Smart Gates" tunnels, which use facial recognition to verify travellers' identities in as little as five seconds. Passengers are also allowed to use their fingerprints or face scans for authentication, rather than rely on physical passports.

Elsewhere in the world, facial recognition technology is already in use to some extent at Hong Kong International Airport, Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda, Indira Gandhi International in Delhi, London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle, among other airports.

Digital IDs, compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards in Aruba, allow travellers to travel using secure digital versions of their passports on mobile phones.

In the US, major airlines like American Airlines, United and Delta have been experimenting with biometric check-in, bag drops and boarding gates at select airports for the last couple of years.

CNN / Newshub.