About 52,9 million passengers travelled through Dubai ports last year according to a report issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affair (GDRFA) Dubai. Image Credit: COURTESY GDRFA

Dubai: More than 52.9 million passengers travelled through Dubai ports last year, according to a report issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affair (GDRFA) - Dubai.

Of them, some 49.9 million used Dubai International Airport, an increase of 6.6 per cent from 2016 when 46.8 million travellers used the airports including departure and arrival points.

From modern smart gates at airports to high-tech services aimed to provide a hassle-free experience to customers, the GDRFA Dubai marked 2017 with many achievements.

Major-General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, director-general of GDRFA Dubai, stated that despite the high traffic at airports last year, staff at the entry and exit points made it easier for passengers to use the services.

“We used the latest technology to provide our services — from smart gates to UAE Wallet — and worked round the clock to make the airport as a happiness hub for all travellers,” Major-General Al Merri said.

With the installation of 122 new-generation smart gates at all terminals in Dubai International Airport, GDRFA aims to ensure that the travellers no longer stop at passport control at one of the busiest airports in the world.

Equipped with the latest face-recognition software, the smart gates do away with the passengers’ personal encounters with passport control officers, clearing travellers with approved biometric, electronic passports or identification to walk straight to the baggage claim area after deplaning.

“It is the face of the future for the first time in the world. Passengers crossed the gates smoothly with no need to stand in queues to get the passport stamped. The smart gates ensure that each traveller will only spend nine to 20 seconds to pass through,” he added.

About 5.5 million passengers used the smart gates last year.

The GDRFA — Dubai statistics show that 3.1 million passengers arrived and 2.3 million departed.

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

“Travellers can walk through the smart gates by using their biometric passports, Emirates ID and smartphone after installing the UAE Wallet application,” Maj-Gen Al Merri added.

About 75,000 people downloaded the UAE smart wallet application that allows passengers to use their smart phones at the smart gates instead of their passports.

Around 18.6 million transactions were processed in Dubai last year including entry permits, residency and issuing passports.

The latest figures show that the GDRFA issued 14.9 entry permits and renewed or issued 3.8 million residency permits. As many as 54,106 Emirati passports were issued last year.

“We work in line with the Dubai Ruler’s vision to make Dubai the smartest city in the world by 2020 and to make everybody happy.”

Amer Centres

The GDRFA launched 15 Amer Centres for visa transactions across Dubai last year to give a proper, decent image of the emirate and to replace hundreds of typing centres.

The new centres, which allow residents to complete all visa and residency transactions without having to visit the GDRFA, were launched to simplify transactions and increase efficiency to achieve customer happiness.

The Amer Centres provide services ranging from issuing entry permits, issuing or renewing residency visa, visa cancellation and other related services provided by other government institutions and departments. The centres completed 44,100 transactions last year.

Meanwhile, GDRFA — Dubai arrested 14,893 people for staying illegally in the country in 240 inspections last year.

In numbers

  1. 52.9 million travellers crossed Dubai ports last year
  2. 49.9 million passed through Dubai airports
  3. 2.4 million travellers through land ports
  4. 540,919 travellers through seaports
  5. 122 smart gates at Dubai airports
  6. 5.5m used smart gates — 3.2m on arrival and 2.3m on departure
  7. 18.6m transactions completed, including issuing of Emirati passports
  8. 15 Amer visa centres
  9. 44,100 transactions issued by Amer Centres
  10. 14,893 people staying illegally in the country were arrested in 240 inspections