Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) has announced plans to speed up passport clearance at the emirate’s airports to as little as 10 seconds.
General director assistant of the airport immigration department at GDRFA, brigadier Talal Ahmad Al Shanqeti, told Gulf News a new system will vet travellers 48 hours before they fly to process them more quickly upon arrival at passport control.
This will mean clearance checks by immigration staff that previously took three minutes could now take as little as 10 seconds, according to the official.
The system has been fully implemented at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 after local airline Emirates agreed to handover passenger details 48 hours before a flight.
It is also expected to be ready at Terminals 1 and 2 and Al Maktoum International by year-end.
“We have 65 employees working in a command room to check the passengers’ details and send clearance to the passport control officer so he only needs to identify the passenger in front of him before stamping his passport,” Al Shanqeti was quoted as saying. “The system works on arrival and departures.”
The expedited procedures should be in place even if passengers make a last minute booking as their details will be on the system an hour before flight time.
The new measures are designed to reduce queue times as Dubai International and Al Maktoum prepare to welcome more passengers each year.
Passenger numbers at Dubai International, the world’s busiest airport for international traffic, rose 5.5 per cent to 88.2 million in 2017. The airport is expected to return to double-digit growth in the next two years, its CEO said in February.
New smart gates have also been introduced at Dubai International in recent months to allow residents, citizens and passengers with certain passports to move through immigration more quickly.
Al Shanqeti said Dubai’s 1,600 passport control officers clear 55,000 passengers each on average compared to a global average of 17,000. Last year, one officer cleared 133,000 passengers alone.
With the new system an individual should be able to clear four passengers or more a minute.