Orlando International to Begin Using Iris Recognition

High-tech screening program will confirm employees' identities through their eyes

Neither Goersch nor Meinke would say how much the scanners at OIA cost. Others on the market can sell for as little as $250 to more than several thousand dollars.

Initially, OIA will perform iris scans on about 500 employees and vendors who will also be screened by traditional methods to ensure security.

Passengers could see a similar technology soon.

The airport plans next month to launch the known-traveler program, in which frequent fliers can voluntarily provide detailed background information, granting them speedier access through airport-security checkpoints.

Goersch said OIA plans to incorporate biometric technologies during that program, possibly including iris scans or fingerprints.

"One of the challenges we face is maintaining a high level of security, while at the same time maintaining a high level of customer service," said Bill Jennings, executive director at OIA.

OIA has earned a reputation in the industry for its push to test and incorporate new technologies.

In the past, the airport has tried body X-ray systems and an explosive-detection system.

"Orlando airport isn't as far along as some others, like the San Francisco airport," Norton said. "But its willingness to step forward, try new technologies and learn from them has earned it a reputation for being innovative."