Using smart gates, passengers can enter or exit the UAE in just 10-15 seconds by using their Emirates ID at Smart Gates at Dubai International (DXB). The move will reduce delays and free up officers for other work. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: New biometric facial recognition and new-generation smart gates will streamline check-in and immigration clearance at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, said authorities on Tuesday.

New-generation smart gates will be installed in coming months.

They will automatically identify travellers, nixing the need to have passports and boarding passes cleared by an immigration officer, said authorities.


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Major-General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDFRA), said in a statement adding that the move will reduce delays and free up officers for other work.


“In line with the government’s vision to be a world leader in providing public services, we have been evaluating the use of biometrics to enhance traveller flow through immigration,” Al Merri said.

“We are pleased to roll out these new initiatives at Terminal 3 Departures in collaboration with Emirates and our airport stakeholders. We believe this will make our operations more efficient, free up our valuable manpower to focus on other responsibilities, and ultimately improve traveller experience.”

The streamlining efforts will help smoothen operations on busy holiday times such as this Eid Al Fitr when Emirates estimated more than 106,000 travellers would pass through Terminal 3 during the last weekend and Eid period, according to the airline’s latest forecast figures.

Last Friday was expected to be the heaviest day in terms of travellers, said Emirates, with more than 37,000 Emirates passengers expected to be departing through Terminal 3.

'Together' initiative

The new programmes will be rolled out under the “Together” initiative in two phases, the culmination of joint planning by Dubai International Airport, Emirates airline, Dubai Customs, GDRFA, and Dubai Police.

The collective effort focused on enhancing traveller experience through innovative and practical solutions that will be based on the “6s — smart, speed, saving, service, safety and security”.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates executive vice-president and chief operations officer, said in a statement: “We are fortunate to have a very supportive and progressive airport stakeholder group.

"Even if it means investing in equipment, training and changing operational processes, all partners are keen to embrace new technologies and thinking if it benefits the end users. We are all on the same page when it comes to wanting to deliver the best experience for visitors coming to and through Dubai.

"We look forward to bringing these projects to fruition and introducing more enhancements in the coming months. The teams are enthusiastic and excited to expedite these initiatives at our hub.”

Two approaches

Emirates said in an announcement on Tuesday that two approaches will speed up departures:

Biometric technology: Using a facial recognition solution integrated with the UAE Wallet, travellers will be able to register and store their biometric data through multiple means including by taking a selfie on their mobile phones, as well as using biometric registration kiosks placed at check-in areas and Emirates Lounges.

They can then utilise this biometric data to ease their journey through immigration at T3 Departures, and later, other touch-points throughout DXB airport, including automated access to Emirates’ First and Business Class lounges.

One Gate: New-generation smart immigration gates will be installed at T3 Departures, supplementing the existing e-gates, and manned immigration counters. These new smart gates offer an automated border control system that utilises travellers’ biometrics.

It will also enable travellers to forgo the additional step of getting their passports and boarding passes manually checked by a security officer before they go through immigration, as these checks will be automatically integrated within the biometric validation as travellers pass through the new smart gates.