Dubai: Over the past four years, more than 100 million travellers have used Dubai International Airport’s smart gates, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Lt Gen Mohammed Al Merri, Director-General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, said the 122 smart gates at Dubai Airports nearly replaced passport control officers for stamping travellers’ passports.
“More than 100 million travellers used the smart gates between 2019 and March 2022. It is a major number. This is how technology can serve travellers and Passport Control officers,” said Lt Gen Al Merri at the Global Airports Leaders forum during the 21st edition of the annual Airport Show in Dubai World Trade Center.
He said: “Most travellers don’t need to pass an officer until they reach the air plane, through smart travelling.”
Clearing Passport Control in a few seconds
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, GDRFA-Dubai presented the ‘Smart Tunnel’ that allowed passengers to clear Passport Control in a few seconds. Travellers can use it by simply walking through a biometric recognition system, without the need to have an exit stamp on their passports. Using facial recognition, the tunnel helped travellers complete Passport Control formalities without the need for human intervention.
The newly-developed smart systems at Dubai Airports are part of GDRFA-Dubai’s efforts to develop innovative smart services, in line with the leadership’s directives to integrate advanced technologies into all government services to enhance quality of life.
Showcasing latest solutions
The 21st edition of the annual Airport Show — hosted by Dubai and running from May 17-19 — is the world’s largest annual airport even. It is set to be the driving force for the global aviation industry to emerge even stronger after the COVID-19 pandemic and will showcase the latest solutions from around the world that will shape the future of the industry.
In 2021, GDRFA-Dubai, in cooperation with Emirates airline, presented a new biometric system that eliminates the need for identification documents at different points in the airport. The fast-track ‘biometric passenger journey’ uses facial and iris-recognition technology to let travellers complete passport control procedures in as little as five seconds. The new contactless system, has been installed at 122 smart gates in the arrivals and departures halls.
“In GITEX, we showcased the smart journey experience. The journey and other smart methods were useful for travel, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Lt Gen Al Merri.
‘An integrated system’
With Dubai retaining its position as the busiest airport in the world, Lt Gen Al Merri believes that teamwork and coordination helped ensure a smooth travel through Dubai Airports. “We have an integrated system involving all the other authorities at the airport, such as Customs, police, airlines and Dubai Airports. It is our duty to offer special services and make customers happy,” Lt Gen Al Merri added. He said that increasing numbers of travellers through Dubai Airports is a healthy indicator as Dubai attracts more and more people every day.
“A traveller [usually] expects to spend more time, going through airport procedures, but in Dubai, he or she passes through the airports in a shorter time. In fact, more than 90 per cent of the procedures is completed even before reaching Passport Control,” he said.