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Image: Emirates

Emirates unveils world’s first ‘biometric path’

Under a mix of facial and iris recognition, passengers are able to check in, go through immigration and board their flights.

Emirates is ready to launch the world’s first ‘biometric path’, which it promises will give passengers “a smooth and truly seamless airport journey” at the airline’s hub in Dubai.

Using a mix of facial and iris recognition, passengers are able to check in, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge and board their flights, just by strolling down the path.

The latest biometric equipment has been installed at Terminal 3 in Dubai, at some of the check-in counters, at the Emirates Lounge for premium passengers and at select boarding gates. Areas where the equipment has been installed is clearly marked.

Live trials for the Smart Tunnel, a project by the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai in collaboration with Emirates, were launched on October 10.

In this world-first for passport control, passengers walk through a tunnel and are ‘cleared’ by immigration authorities without human intervention or the need for a passport stamp.

Once these tests are completed, Emirates will launch trials for biometric processing at the other key customer points at the airport – check-in, lounge, boarding gate, and subsequently at transit counters and gates and for its chauffeur-driven services.

All biometric data will be stored with directorate, and customers invited to participate in the trials will be asked for their consent.

Smoother flow
Emirates says the biometric path will improve customer experience and flow through the airport with fewer document checks and less queuing.

Eventually, the ‘live’ passenger tracking capability will also improve security and the ability to give more personalised services, the airline says – for instance enabling it to locate and assist ‘late’ customers who would otherwise miss their flights.

Initially focussed on First and Business-class travellers, Emirates intends to extend the biometric path to Economy travellers in Dubai and in the future potentially to other airports outside Dubai, and also for its own dedicated crew check-in facility.

“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,” says Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ executive vice president and chief operations officer.

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