After victorious fulfillment of the test phase, Dubai airport has now formally moved out the ‘smart travel’ system that allows travelers to travel without handling their identification documents. The unified biometric contactless pathway at Dubai International Airport (DXB), which was first revealed at GITEX in 2019, was formally declared by top officials at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
Media persons were provided a behind-the-scenes tour of the latest contactless smart travel policy that gives large importance on security in a post-pandemic world, as it decreases connection with staff at every point of cooperation from check-in counters to boarding the flight. Employing the newest biometric technology a mix of facial and iris identification passengers can now check-in for their flight, whole immigration rules, access the lounge facilities, and board their flights by simply walking through the airport.
“In the future, we expect immigration terminals will not exist. People will be able to stroll through the airport to complete all formalities. The time taken to complete immigration formalities will solely depend on how fast an individual can walk,” said Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of GDRFA, Dubai.
A total of eight such registration terminals have been fixed up at the first and business class check-in counters of Emirates Airlines. The smart tunnel has also been established up near immigration counters at the first and business class departure terminal. Brigadier Talal Ahmad Al Shanqeti, General Director assistant of Ports Affairs in GDRFA, Dubai, said 122 smart gates in the departure and arrival lounges of Dubai Airports have been updated, so pre-registered travelers can utilize the method without the requirement for travel documents.
After security clearance, travelers can access the lounge space using the equivalent technology and ultimately board their aircraft as well. Al Shanqeti said, “Passengers can opt between smart gates or the new smart tunnel system. They can choose to use their Emirates ID or enter by showing their face at the gates. All passengers over the age of 17 can opt to use the biometric pathways (smart tunnel). At least 3,000 passengers use the biometric gates every day. The smart gates were modified for the seamless journey,” he added.
Steps to use
Step 1: Check-in and register on the smart tunnel mode. Noora Al Mazrouie, the director of the future border department at GDRFA said the whole method should take anything between five to nine seconds.
“First-time users can register their passports on the facial recognition system at the check-in counters. Once registered, the registration is valid till the individual’s passport or visa expires. Once it expires, they can re-register themselves on the system,” said Al Mazrui. Several touchpoints in the biometric path permit for a hygienic contactless travel journey, decreasing human interaction and setting emphasis on health and safety in a pandemic-stricken world.
Step 2: Immigration; Upon completion of registration, travelers who have ‘Smart Tunnel’ marked on their boarding passes can walk through the smart tunnel by showing their face to the camera. Non-registered users can proceed to handle their Emirates IDs or passports at the smart gates. While stylish gates have access doors at the front and back of the terminal, the smart tunnel is a long pathway outfitted with a biometric scanner.
Step 3: Access to lounge facilities; First and business class passengers can utilize the lounge facilities with the biometric setting.
Step 4: Final boarding; Passengers can use the equivalent mechanism at the boarding gates without requiring to give their travel documents.