Dubai: Emirates, in collaboration with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA), is offering international travellers the opportunity to speed up their airport experience by consenting to the use of biometric data.
The agreement was signed by Lieutenant General Mohamed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of GDRFA in Dubai, and Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, in the presence of several senior officials from both sides.
Commenting on how the agreement will develop best-in-class services for travellers, Lieutenant-General Mohammed Al-Marri said: “Dubai is one of the world’s most aspirational destinations, and 2022 has already seen more than 8 million tourists arrive to the city. We continue to support our key partners with best-in-class services as we strive for excellence, and innovation in positioning Dubai as the world’s leading business hub and tourism destination.”
Available for transit passengers too
The agreement improves passenger traffic procedures inside Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 and ensures a faster and more efficient airport experience for travellers transferring to connecting flights, as well as those who arrive in Dubai as their final destination.
The first agreement of its kind globally, the strategic partnership between GDRFA and Emirates is a cooperative effort to further improve the innovative and digitally focused travel experience of Dubai visitors.
Highlighting the importance and value of this agreement, Adel Al Redha said: “Emirates continually invests to improve customer experience and we thank the GDFRA for extending the bridges of cooperation, communication and coordination to add value to Emirates’ services and allow our international passengers to Fly Better.”
Consent through app or check-in desks, kiosks
In 2023, Emirates passengers will be able to click to consent to biometric data use on the Emirates app, at Emirates self check-in kiosks, or in person at Emirates check-in desks.
The system utilises the latest biometric technology – a mix of facial and iris recognition – and with the GDRFA pre-populated biometric database to identify travellers at multiple points in the airport, travellers will be able to breeze through Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 Check-In, Lounges, Boarding and Immigration at high-speed.
A privilege previously only enjoyed by UAE residents and GCC nationals, international passengers will need to provide official consent ahead of their trip through the airline’s app, or through one of their check-in kiosks or desks.
Smart Tunnel project
Launched in 2020 the Smart Tunnel, a project by GDRFA in collaboration with Emirates, 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.
Emirates is also the first airline outside America to receive approval for biometric boarding from the US Customs Border Protection (CBP). Customers flying from Dubai to Emirates’ destinations in the US will be able to choose facial recognition technology at the departure gates.