According to a new study, U.S. travelers “strongly support” the use of biometrics to screen travelers at airports.

The 2019 Security Index, conducted by global IT company Unysis, surveyed nearly 1,000 online participants from 13 different countries including the U.S. about airport security. According to the survey findings, 80% of respondents suggested that they would willingly entrust their biometric data — fingerprints, face scans, iris scans and any other body measurements and calculations used for ID verification purposes — to airports and the government, citing a variety of reasons. Respondents noted that the use of biometrics improves safety and prevents terrorism (42% of respondents); is more reliable than traditional forms of identification such as licenses (35% of respondents); keeps law enforcement apprised of who is at the airport at all times (33% of respondents); and moves travelers through airports faster (32% of respondents).

“This is something that did not register at all just a couple years ago,” Unisys’ chief trust officer Tom Patterson said. “Now we are seeing an overwhelming number of U.S. respondents that want to use biometrics at the airport.”

Conversely, respondents were less supportive of the use of biometrics when it concerned consumerism. Respondents were significantly more supportive of biometric use for safety and security applications and less so when it is used to sell them something.

Additionally, the majority of the 20% of survey respondents unwilling to share their biometric data with airports or the government explained that they were not confident that the government or the airports could keep their data safe or from being lost or hacked.

That respondents are reportedly comfortable with the use of biometrics for security purposes is good news for airports all over the world as facial recognition technology in particular is the biometric overwhelmingly relied on to secure flights.

Yet, concerns over the use of facial recognition scans have been called into question recently amid mounting concerns that the technology is biased and flawed. While the technology faces criticism elsewhere, it hasn't necessarily slowed adoption at the airport.

For more on the survey, go to Unysis' website.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com