Dubai ramping up biometric border facilities

31/07/17

About 20% of travellers use smart gates in Dubai but the border agency aims to step that up to 50% in the near future with new equipment.

From September, 25 new-generation smart gates will use new face-recognition software that will clear travellers who present approved biometric, electronic passports or identification to walk straight to the baggage claim area after deplaning.

With an increase every year in passengers using Dubai’s air hub every year, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) is installing the new gates in Terminals 1,2,3 as well as at Maktoum International Airport, to be completed by the first quarter of 2018.

“The new generation of the smart gates will replace all the current gates by first quarter of 2018. For the moment, we will have 25 smart gates at the departure hall in Terminal 3 by beginning of September. It is the face of the future for the first time in the world — passengers will cross the gates smoothly and there will be no need to stand in queues to get the passport stamped,” Brigadier Talal Ahmad Al Shanqeti, General Director Assistant of Airport Passport Sector in GDRFA-Dubai told Gulf News.

A “biometric border” walkway takes a 3D scan of people’s faces as they enter the airport and checks it against a digital passport using face-recognition software.

“Travellers can walk through the smart gates by either using their biometric passports or Emirati ID. Since we activated the use of Emirati ID to cross the gates on July 2016, around 555,857 travellers have used them,” he said.

Major Khalid Al Felasi, Assistant General Director of Smart Services in GDRFA-Dubai, told Gulf News that the new gates represent a new era for passengers.

“Dubai is always looking for new ideas that have never been implemented before in the world. Dubai Airport is number one in the world and the new smart gates are unique. A traveller’s face will be scanned so when he returns, [through facial recognition], the gates will open without the need to take fingerprints or examine the passport. This is the future,” Maj Al Felasi said.

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