CALGARY -- WestJet and TELUS have teamed up for a first-of-its-kind trial in Canada that will see facial recognition used prior to boarding for some flights at Calgary international Airport.

The process is touchless, and uses "safe and secure facial verification technology," the companies said in a release.

"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 at WestJet.

"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." 

The ongoing trial is the first step toward approval from the federal government. 

"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 at TELUS.

"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."

The technology was developed by one37 and document integrity validation is provided by OARO, which follows data protection and privacy regulations covered under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

"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," said Mike Maxwell, aviation lead for OARO.