MIAMI – Dubai International Airport (DXB) has launched a new fast-track passport control service using facial and iris recognition technologies. 

The AI-technological service was launched by Dubai’s Directorate-General for Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai) to speed up immigration processes.

The new biometric system has been introduced at 122 smart gates in DXB, enabling passengers to complete passport control procedures in five to nine seconds, both at their arrival and departure terminals. However, pre-registration is required to access the service.

After inspection for their flight, outbound passengers are able to access the facial recognition service that uses artificial intelligence for the identification process. 

Comments from GDRFA, Dubai

Maj Gen Mohammed Al Marri, Director General of the GDRFA, said that GDRFA Dubai “is keen to launch new projects and initiatives that use state-of-the-art technologies to transform service efficiency.”

The National News reports that this new service is available to all travelers, in comparison to the current e-gate – which can only be used by UAE residents or Emiratis, provided they register in advance. 

Since October 2020 when Emirates (EK) launched its own system to establish contact-free travel, biometric inspections are in use at DXB.

As passengers experience fewer document checks, the Dubai airline believed its biometric “path” would decrease queuing time. The touchpoints are open to passengers from and via Emirates through Dubai and allow passengers to check-in without having to meet airline staff face to face.

The announcement on Monday came weeks after a trial of facial recognition technology within the Ministry of Interior was approved by the UAE Cabinet.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said facial recognition would be used in “some private sector services to verify the personal identity of individuals instead of submitting a lot of documents”. He said that if the trial is successful, facial ID will be implemented more widely.

Dubai International Airport. VtTN, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Smart Tunnel

As reported by Gulf Business, currently, biometric touchpoints are installed at selected First, Business and Economy Class check-in desks at DXB Terminal 3; immigration gates including a “smart tunnel”; Emirates’ premium lounge entrance at concourse B, as well as select boarding gates.

Self-check-in and bag drop kiosks by the airline at DXB are now touchless. Without the need to touch the screens, the 32 self-service bag drop machines and 16 check-in kiosks can be controlled fully by mobile phones. The kiosks allow clients to check-in, receive their boarding pass, select seats onboard, and drop their bags off.

Featured image: Dubai Media Office