Video: Exiting Dubai airports? Keep passport away, just show your face

Dubai - What travellers have to do is simply walk through a smart tunnel and look at the camera.


Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Thu 11 Oct 2018, 1:45 PM

Last updated: Tue 11 Oct 2022, 10:09 AM

Now, first and business class travellers can exit the country without passports via the Dubai International Airports (DXB).

What travellers have to do is simply walk through a smart tunnel and look at the camera, equipped with biometric recognition technology. Once cleared, passengers can board the flight without waiting to get their passports stamped. The whole process takes just seconds.

A combination of pictures shows a passenger completing passport control procedures without his passport in a non-stop walk at Terminal-3 of the Dubai International Airport. - Photos by Juidin Bernarrd

On Wednesday, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai launched the pilot phase of this Smart Tunnel system at DXB Terminal 3, which enables Emirates Airlines passengers to finish passport control procedures without the need for any documents.

Official launch later

Major-General Mohammad Ahmed Al Marri, director general of GDRFA, said the project will be on a trial until His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launches it officially.

The tunnel, manufactured and made in the UAE in coordination with Emaratech, works on biometric recognition technology and passenger can finish exit procedures without the need for human intervention.

Al Marri added that the non-stop exit project, considered the first of its kind in the world, was tested in the authority's private lab before being introduced at the airport for on-ground experiment.

"We have been working on this idea for four years to ease people's airport procedures until we found the right technology to implement it. So far, we are very happy with the trial's results and we look forward to launching it officially," said Al Marri.

He confirmed that more smart projects are in the pipeline to achieve fast and smart travelling experience, as the country expects to receive over 25 million visitors in six months during Expo 2020. The tunnel will work hand in hand with the smart gates, equipped with latest face-recognition software, that allow residents to use their Emirates ID or registered passports to get through without any encounter with passport control officers.

Kiosks open for registration

Noura Al Mazrouie, acting director of future borders department at airport sector, said smart gate users are automatically eligible to use the smart tunnel as their information is already registered.

However, passengers who haven't used the smart gates will have to register their information at one of the two dedicated kiosks or the registration counter beside the passport control section. Another counter will soon be introduced before the tunnel.

Al Mazrouie added: "Travellers get their passports verified the first time they walk through the tunnel since the project is still in its testing phase. They, however, do not need to do this step the second time they walk through the tunnel."

She noted; "We have a passenger who passed through the tunnel twice within three days this week. He was excited when he didn't need to stop at all for passport control or verification."

The project was launched in collaboration with Emirates Airlines, which is planning to introduce the project later on in the briefing area for their cabin crew. In August this year, over 3.8 million passengers passed through Dubai International Airports, a new record number that was recorded in a month. Over 600,000 people used the smart gates to get through passport control.


Dubai, a travel hub

With flying being stressful, airports need to use technology, design and psychology to reduce the burden and make the experience pleasant. The aim is to increase passenger convenience so that he keeps coming back. A growth in air traffic necessitates a faster and more efficient passenger flow. Dubai's enormous investment in innovation to make its airport a travel hub is unrivaled and the facilities speak for themselves.

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