Emirates introduces smart check-in

Wednesday November 28 2018

An Emirates Airlines plane taxis on the tarmac at the Dubai International Airport.

An Emirates Airlines plane taxis on the tarmac at the Dubai International Airport. The carrier is testing the latest biometric path technology — a mix of facial and iris recognition for smart check-in. PHOTO | REUTERS 

ALLAN OLINGO
By ALLAN OLINGO
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Emirates passengers will soon check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge, and board their flights, simply by strolling through the airport, as the airline starts testing the latest biometric path technology — a mix of facial and iris recognition.

The latest biometric equipment has already been installed at Emirates Terminal 3, Dubai International Airport and can now be found at select check-in counters, at the Emirates Lounge in Concourse B for premium passengers, and at select boarding gates.

Trials for the Smart Tunnel, a project by the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai in collaboration with Emirates, was launched on last month and will become 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.

Customers invited

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operations officer said “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.

“The recent launch of the Smart Tunnel trial 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. We will soon invite customers to participate in the trials for our biometric path, and we look forward to their feedback,” Mr Redha added.

Once its internal tests are completed, Emirates will shortly 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 the directorate, and customers invited to participate in the trials will be asked for their consent.

Enhanced experience

Mohammed Ahmed Almarri, Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs said that Smart Tunnel tests are running smoothly, and we are now preparing to mobilise the other biometric systems at the other areas in T3.

“These initiatives are in line with the government’s vision to be a world leader in innovation and public services. It will ultimately improve the traveller experience at the airport, and enhance the efficiency of our operations,” Mr Almarri said.

Emirates’ “biometric path” will improve customer experience and customer flow through the airport with fewer document checks and less queuing.

Eventually, the “live” passenger tracking capability will also improve security and the airline’s ability to deliver even better and more personalised services: For instance, enabling the Emirates airport team to locate and assist ‘late’ customers who would otherwise miss their flights.
The airline’s “biometric path” will cover departures, arrivals, transit, chauffeur drive connections, and lounge access in Dubai.

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