Dubai airport to introduce single biometric system for flight check-in, immigration, boarding

New technology will make passenger journey faster, easier and seamless by identifying individuals based on unique physical or behavioural characteristics


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Tue 12 Sep 2023, 2:30 PM

Last updated: Wed 13 Sep 2023, 1:37 PM

Dubai is working on a project whereby a single biometric will be used for check-in, immigration and boarding the aircraft to further facilitate passenger clearance.

While speaking during a press conference on Tuesday, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) officials said Dubai International Airport would fully deploy biometric technology to identify individuals based on their unique physical or behavioural characteristics in the future.

This single biometric use will increase the number of airport passengers and eliminate the need for immigration counters, providing a smooth and seamless experience for passengers.

“We have been working on this one biometric project for two years. The idea behind this is to make passenger journey faster, easier and seamless using one biometric. For example, passengers coming for check-in will use the same biometrics in immigration, lounge and boarding the aircraft. We call it a smart journey. In the future, we may not see classic counters what we see now,” said Major General Obaid bin Suroor, deputy director-general of GDRFA.

In February 2021, Khaleej Times was given a behind-the-scenes tour of the new contactless smart travel system that enabled passengers to travel without using their identification papers. Major General Obaid said this new technology will be rolled out “very soon.”

Major General Obaid was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference to announce the upcoming International Conference on Policymaking: The Future of Ports. Slated to commence on September 19, the two-day event will take place at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, with participants from Asia, Europe, the US and UAE taking part in the forum.

37% passengers using smart gates

Major General Talal Al Shangeti, assistant director-general of the Airport Passport Sector at GDRFA, said they’re working with all stakeholders to improve services as Dubai International Airport is one of the best in service.

He said iris and facial biometrics are the future for a seamless journey of passengers, starting from checking, immigration, security and final boarding to aircraft.

More than 42 million passengers, including transit, used airports and immigration borders, and 37 per cent of them were using smart gates during the January-June period.

“Our target is to achieve 80 per cent of people using smart gates and other technologies. We hope to achieve this target in a couple of years. We believe Dubai airport will completely deploy biometric technology,” said Major General Talal.

Currently, there are 120 smart gates operational at Dubai International, and the aim is to reach 150 by the end of this year or early next year, he added.


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