R.I. airport board inks contract with identity verification firm

Updated at 1:10 p.m.

RIAC APPROVED A FIVE-YEAR CONTRACT with Clear Secure Inc. to install identity verification kiosks at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport./ PBN FILE PHOTO/MIKE SKORSKI

WARWICK – The R.I. Airport Corp. board of directors on Thursday approved a deal with Manhattan-based Clear Secure Inc. to install identity verification kiosks that use biometrics at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport.

R.I. Airport Corp. spokesman John Goodman confirmed the five-year lease agreement with Clear Secure subsidiary ALCLEAR LLC, which projects about $150,000 in annual revenue for the airport, or $750,000 over the life of the term “to provide expedited identity verification services for passengers.” 

The company says the installation of the kiosks will create 25 new jobs in Rhode Island, with checkpoints open from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. The agreement includes the leasing of 397 square feet, including office space and the installation of four verification kiosks and two for new customer enrollment. 

The publicly traded company uses biometrics – the automated recognition of individuals via unique physical characteristics – to allow subscribers to bypass the initial screening of boarding passes and IDs by U.S. Transportation Security Administration agents.

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The company says it has more than 7,600 members in the Providence metropolitan area and that over 33,000 subscribers have arrived on direct flights to T.F. Green so far this year.  

Rather than having a TSA staffer manually scan passengers’ passports or ID cards, members instead have their fingerprints or irises scanned at dedicated pods manned by a Clear “ambassador” and are then escorted directly to the security gates.  

Memberships are only available to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents 18 and older with a valid government-issued photo ID, according to its website. The company says all personal data is secured and never sold to third parties.

Clear Plus memberships cost $189 annually, with lower pricing available to enrollees in certain airline or credit card loyalty programs. 

Founded in 2003, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and briefly shut down operations before being revived by Caryn Seidman-Becker and Ken Cornick, who now serves as CEO and president. The company relaunched in 2012 with its patented biometrics platform.

According to the company’s quarterly report to shareholders in August, there were 6.2 million active Clear Plus members, a 40.6% increase year over year, and $149.9 million in revenues. 

Clear Secure spokesperson Dana Honor declined to comment on a start date but said the company was “thrilled” to be partnering with the airport “to deliver the superior and secure experience [our] members know, love, and depend on to [T.F. Green] passengers.”

“Security is job one at Clear,” she said. “As always, we are grounded in our mission to provide a safer and easier experience for all.” 

(Update: Comment from Clear Secure Inc. added in 3rd, 4th, 9th and 10th paragraphs)

Christopher Allen is a PBN staff writer. You may contact him at Allen@PBN.com 

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