Dubai: Close to a quarter of a million residents have used their Emirates ID cards to pass through automated smart gates at all three terminals in Dubai International Airport.
Under the system being introduced in phases, residents can use their ID cards to pass through all 127 immigration smart gates in the three terminals.
The system is free of charge and requires no pre-registration. More than 234,000 residents have so far used the system.
The process helps travellers beat long queues and does away with the need for immigration stamps on passport pages.
“With a transaction time that averages 10-15 seconds this is clearly a smarter way to travel,” said Paul Griffiths, the chief of Dubai Airports.
“It speeds up the immigration process significantly and shortens queues. Our focus going forward is to get more residents using it.”
The system also “responds to calls from our leadership to provide services that make the passenger journey as smooth as possible,” said General Mohammad Al Merri, Director-General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
For the operator, automated smart gates help smooth the service and boost capacity. Dubai Airports plans to handle 118 million travellers by 2023.
Last year, the airport saw more than 77 million travellers pass through, making it the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic.
Automated immigration gates were first introduced at Dubai Airport in 2002.
Residents must be 18 years old to use their Emirates ID cards at the immigration gates.
Families travelling with children below the age of 18 can approach the manned counter next to the smart gates to complete the immigration process.