Dubai Planning New Measures to Reduce Travel Time At Airport

The emirate is looking to expand its smart gates programme and introduce new software systems at the airport.



Dubai is seeking to reduce the time spent by travellers at its airports by introducing new systems and expanding the use of smart gates, officials have said.

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai) said that it is creating an electronic linkage system with Emirates Airlines at Dubai International Airport, which will reduce travel time for departures by 50 per cent from the current 30 minutes when completed.

New systems and procedures are also set to be implemented to speed up travel for arrivals, including new software and Advance Passengers Information System (APIS), GDRFA-Dubai said in its official newsletter, Manafez.

These systems and procedures are expected to reduce travel time for arrivals by 60 per cent.

The authority is also looking to boost the usage of smart gates and has announced plans to register four million travellers for the programme over the next three years.

It is aiming to increase the number of smart gates to 102 at Dubai International Airport and the new Al Maktoum International Airport by the end of the second phase of the programme, compared to 12 gates at the programme’s launch.

Smart gates, introduced in January 2013 at the Dubai International Airport, are equipped with automatic identification system, facial imprint and automatic iris scan.

They are designed to help passengers complete their passport control procedures quickly, without standing in long queues at the airport.

Major General Obaid Moheir bin Suroor, deputy director general of GDRFA-Dubai, said: “Smart gates will not only enable us to absorb the increasing number of passengers and guarantee smooth flow of traffic at the airport, but also improve security.”

UAE nationals, residents and visitors can register for the smart gates at GDRFA-Dubai headquarters, Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 1 and 3, Emirates Airlines headquarters and dnata.

GDRFA-Dubai is soon planning to launch a campaign to create wider awareness about the programme, the newsletter added.

Dubai International is currently one of the busiest airports in the world, and is projected to welcome 70 million passengers in 2014.

The airport is also set to open a new Concourse D next year, which is designed to handle 18 million passengers annually and accommodate 17 aircraft, including jumbo Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 jets.

The new concourse, costing Dhs4 billion, will also be connected to Terminal 1 through an elevated rail link stretching 350 meters to facilitate the movement of travellers.

The fourth concourse is part of a wider $7.8 billion expansion programme designed to boost the Dubai airport’s capacity to over 100 million passengers annually by 2020.

As part of the programme, Dubai Airports opened Concourse A – the world’s first dedicated facility for A380 aircraft – early last year.

Dubai is also developing the Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, which will be able to accommodate up to 160 million passengers when completed.