Emirates is gearing up to launch a so-called “biometric path” which will offer its passengers a smooth and seamless airport journey at the airline’s hub at Dubai International Airport.
Utilising the latest biometric technology, a mix of facial and iris recognition, Emirates passengers will soon be able to check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge, and board their flights using biometrics technology.
The latest biometric equipment has already been installed at Emirates Terminal 3 at Dubai International. This equipment can be found at select check-in counters, at the Emirates Lounge in Concourse B for premium passengers, and at some boarding gates. Areas where biometric equipment is installed will be clearly marked.
Trials for the Smart Tunnel, a project by the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) in collaboration with Emirates, were launched on 10 October. This is a world-first for passport control, where passengers simply walk through a tunnel and are cleared by immigration authorities without human intervention or the need for a physical passport stamp.
Once its internal tests are completed, Emirates will soon launch trials for biometric processing at the other key customer points at the airport – check-in, lounge, and boarding gate – and subsequently at transit counters/gates, and for its chauffeur drive services. All biometric data will be stored with GDRFA, and customers invited to participate in the trials will be asked for their consent.
Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Emirates, said: “Guided by our chairman His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Emirates continuously innovates and strives to improve our day-to-day business. After extensive research and evaluation of numerous technologies and new approaches to enhance our passenger journey, we are now satisfied with the preliminary work we have carried out and are ready to commence live trials of the world’s first biometric path at Emirates Terminal 3.
“These ground-breaking initiatives are a result of close collaboration with our stakeholders – particularly GDRFA who have been instrumental in the programme to bring the biometric path to fruition. The recent launch of the Smart Tunnel trial by GDRFA is a great achievement and clearly demonstrates the unique and collaborative nature of innovation at Dubai Airport. All systems will eventually be linked with each other resulting in better service to our customers and a happier journey whether arriving, departing or transiting in Dubai. This is very much in line with Emirates’ ‘Fly Better’ brand promise. We will soon invite customers to participate in the trials for our biometric path, and we look forward to their feedback.”
Emirates’ biometric path should help to improve the customer experience and customer flow through the airport with less document checks and less queuing. Eventually, the live passenger tracking capability will also improve security and the airline’s ability to deliver more personalised services. For instance, enabling the Emirates airport team to locate and assist customers who have arrived late and would otherwise miss their flights.
The airline’s biometric path will cover departures, arrivals, transit, chauffeur drive connections, and lounge access in Dubai. Initially focussed on First and Business Class travellers, Emirates intends to extend the biometric path to Economy Class travellers in Dubai, and in the future potentially to other airports outside of Dubai, and also for its own dedicated crew check in facility.