Passengers do not need to use a dedicated card to pass through the gates, which now number 127 and have been used by over 5.5 million travellers since the first ones were introduced in 2017. They can instead identify passengers by their passport, Emirates ID card, e-gate card, or a QR bar-code generated by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) app. The gates can also be used by travellers from foreign countries who are eligible for visas.
“Dubai Airports is always looking at opportunities for innovation that makes the journey smoother and more comfortable for our customers, said Michael Ibbitson, executive vice president of technology and infrastructure at Dubai Airports. “Smart Gates do just that by slashing transaction times to just 10-15 seconds and shortening queues.”
With the number of travellers using DXB predicted to rise to 90.3 million in 2018, up from 88.2 million in 2017, the airport has sought to modernise and improve its services for some times. Queuing times were reported to have dropped by 10% in the first three months of 2017, following the previous installation of smart gates, and 84% of passengers were processed within five minutes.
However, there are still concerns that the smart gates are being ignored by travellers, despite being a fixture at the airport since 2002. Fewer than four million passengers used the gates in 2017, less than 5% of the year’s total passenger numbers.
“The installation of the new smart gates in Terminal 1 arrivals area is part of an integrated development project to provide passengers with facilities and services that make their travel through Dubai International a quick and easy,” said Brigadier General Talal Al Shanqiti, GDFRA assistant director general for ports affairs.
“Passport control is a critical process as part of which maintaining a high level of security is our top priority. This new system helps us strike a balance between achieving that objective while also ensuring a better experience for the passengers through speed and efficiency.”
The new gates have been launched to coincide with UAE’s Innovation Month, a month of celebration of ideas and innovation, to ‘contribute to strengthening the country’s position as a global hub for innovation’.