Emirates to launch ‘biometric path’ for passengers at Dubai airport

An Emirates passenger going through the biometric gates

Emirates is gearing up to launch the world’s first “biometric path” for passengers at the airline’s hub in Dubai International Airport.

Utilising the latest biometric technology – a mix of facial and iris recognition – Emirates passengers can soon check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates lounge and board their flights.

An Emirates passenger going through the biometric gates

The latest biometric equipment has already been installed at Dubai airport’s Terminal 3. This equipment can be found at select check-in counters, at the Emirates Lounge in Concourse B for premium passengers, and at select boarding gates. Areas where biometric equipment are 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, was launched on October 10. It is a world-first for passport control, where passengers 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 launch trials for biometric processing at 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, Emirates’ executive vice president and COO said in a statement: “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.”

The airline’s “biometric path” aims to improve customer experience and customer flow through the airport with less document checks and less queuing. Eventually, the “live” passenger tracking capability will also enable the Emirates airport team to locate and assist ‘late’ customers who would otherwise miss their flights.

Initially focused on First and Business class travellers, Emirates intends to speedily extend the “biometric path” to Economy class travellers in Dubai, and potentially extend the service to other airports outside of Dubai, and also for its own dedicated crew check in facility.

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