Abu Dhabi Airports to launch advanced biometric technology
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Abu Dhabi Airports to launch advanced biometric technology

Abu Dhabi Airports to launch advanced biometric technology

The phased roll-out has begun with US flights from Abu Dhabi, offering facial recognition facility and an end to multiple passport and boarding pass checks

Neesha Salian
Abu Dhabi Airports to introduce biometric tech

The use of biometric technology is a game-changing advancement that will transform the way we travel.

Abu Dhabi Airports is preparing to introduce this technology at Abu Dhabi International Airport to ease passengers’ airport journey and experience.

The technology uses smart cameras to capture an image of the passenger’s face and confirms whether they are cleared to travel. The same information is then used prior to boarding, avoiding the need to present documents again.

The technology will be implemented gradually, and its first phase is currently being tested at the United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) facility in Abu Dhabi International Airport, the only US immigration preclearance service in the region that allows passengers to clear US immigration while they are still in Abu Dhabi. It will also enable a smooth and quick airport experience upon arrival in the US.

Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri, MD and CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “We are looking forward to leveraging this holistic biometric technology, the first of its kind in the UAE and the world, to further enhance our passenger journey.

“The project will commence at Abu Dhabi International Airport and then transferred to the new Midfield Terminal in the future as we continue to be committed to enhancing the airport services and experience.

“We also take this opportunity to recognise Etihad, the first airline to use this technology, as well as NEXT50, our technology partner, and the UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, without which today’s ground-breaking announcement would not have been possible.”

Major General Suhail Saeed Al Khaili, the director general of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security, said, “This advanced technology provides a smooth passenger customer journey, by leveraging biometric data records, which will enable travellers at Abu Dhabi International Airport to check in, clear immigration, access lounges and board their flights using only biometric data, without the need to present passports or boarding passes.”

This move comes ahead of Etihad increasing flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York from four to 11 flights a week from November 15. The USCBP technology is also in place at JFK meaning guests flying to Abu Dhabi from New York will also enjoy a seamless boarding experience.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, group COO, Etihad Aviation Group, said, “This innovation is an important next step in Etihad’s self-service journey. It means Etihad’s US flights become even more streamlined, on top of the benefit of arriving as a US domestic passenger without the need for further delays.

“This is a showcase of Abu Dhabi’s progress in the expanding field of biometrics, making the journey easier for guests while maintaining stringent security.”

This system, wholly financed by Abu Dhabi Airports and delivered by NEXT50, an Abu Dhabi tech-based company, will be tested on Etihad Airways flights to the US, and is phase one of a major rollout that will be introduced throughout the entire airport for all airlines to benefit from, in the coming months.

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