Close to six million passengers have passed through the smart gates at Dubai International Airport this year and officials have urged more people to register for the service to avoid delays during the summer rush.
The state-of-the-art biometric systems installed at the gates have eased pressure on passport control officers as more people opt to pass through the gates instead of queuing for a physical stamp at immigration.
On average, about one million travellers per month have used the 122 smart gates located throughout the airport since the beginning of the year.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai) said they take just seconds to pass through and eliminate the need for passengers to show identification documents at different touch points across the airport.
With the busy summer travel season in full swing, The National was invited to take a tour of a typical passenger's journey when using the airport.
“We have a 50 per cent increase this year of people using the smart gates and tunnel at the airport,” said Colonel Faisal Al Nuaimi, Deputy Director Assistant for Airport Operations at GDRFA-Dubai.
“About six million people have used our smart solutions this year. It has [drastically cut] waiting times at the busiest airport in the world.
“Most travellers don’t need to pass by an actual officer until they reach the plane, thanks to smart travelling.”
Last year, GDRFA-Dubai launched the fast-track biometric passenger journey at all 122 smart gates. It uses face and iris-recognition technology to let travellers complete passport control procedures in as little as five seconds.
Passengers can also use their passport to pass through the gates in as little as eight seconds.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the department introduced the “Smart Tunnel” that allows passengers to clear Passport Control in speedy time.
“More people are using the smart tunnel when departing from the airport,” said Mr Al Nuaimi.
“Nearly 23,000 people used the smart tunnel during the first half of this year.”
Travellers can use it by simply walking through a biometric recognition system, without the need for human intervention.
Passenger footfall this year
So far this year, Mr Al Nuaimi said Dubai International Airport has recorded 19.7 million passengers, including 9.8 million passengers at entry points and 9.9 million passengers at exit points.
About 1.6 million travellers used the smart gates and tunnel in arrivals and close to four million used it in departures.
“We are expecting 125,000 travellers per day during the summer and holiday season,” he said.
Officers from GDRFA-Dubai hold daily meetings with Dubai Airports’ authorities to manage the summer rush of travellers.
The department urged passengers to register under the smart gates system to help reduce their journey time through the airport.
Passengers can register for the service at the passport control desk on arrival or departure.
“Smart gates are the future of travelling in different airports throughout the world,” he said.
“We are keen to offer special services and make travellers happy.”
The 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 the quality of life.
With Dubai retaining its position as the busiest airport in the world, GDRFA-Dubai said teamwork and coordination helped ensure smooth travel through Dubai Airports.
The department said that they have an integrated system involving all the other authorities at the airport, such as customs, police and airlines.