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Vancouver Airport Authority launches biometric border control solution for Middle East


The Vancouver Airport Authority launched BorderXpress, the world’s first self-service border control solution in the Middle East region at this week’s 15th annual Airport Show in Dubai.

With the UAE airports processing 101 million travellers in 2014 with Dubai International Airport alone handling 71 million travellers alone, aviation and border control authorities in the UAE are making significant investments in technologies for seamless travel facilitation, including Smart Gate and APIS.

The Vancouver Airport Authority is the star exhibitor of the North American (US and Canada) Pavilion at the Airport Show, which featured 300 exhibitors from 40 countries and 8000 industry professionals from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region.

Paul Mewett, director of innovative travel solutions at Vancouver Airport Authority, delivered a presentation at the show’s Innovation Podium in which he offered insights into the BorderXpress technology.

More than 650 kiosks are currently operating in 23 major international airports in Canada, the US and the Caribbean, said Christopher Gilliland, manager for innovative travel solutions at Vancouver Airport Authority.

Additionally, over 25 million travellers have used this biometric travel technology since it was first deployed at the Vancouver airport about five years ago.

BorderXpress, which accepts all passports, without any fees or prior registration requirements, is designed to expedite the processing and reduce border control wait times for all travellers by up to 50 percent.

The biometric travel solution automates the administrative functions of border control with a two-step process: travellers complete the data-entry function themselves using a touch-screen kiosk, and officers then verify the documents for final admission.

The kiosk and software transmits the collected data and biometrics via encrypted transfer to border control agency which assesses the data and provides a response.

Since the technology offers a faster processing time and higher throughput, airports require 50 percent less space for queuing.

The automated kiosks, which are able to recognize 38 passports at a time, allow travellers to scan their own passports, capture biometrics such as fingerprints and Iris, take own picture and provide answers to all declaration questions.

The travellers’ data is then sent automatically to a government authority for review and generates a response within seconds, along with a receipt. The travellers then present the receipts along with the passports to border officers.

“Our solution can be configured to meet the immigration needs of virtually any government in the world,” Gilliland said. “The kiosk accepts any machine readable travel document such as residency cards, passports, driving licenses and visas. It also accepts debit and credit cards and other tap- and-go payments from travelers for visa fees, excess duty payment and departure taxes.

“We have completed tapping of the North American markets and are looking at the Middle East region in general and GCC states in particular. This is an important market for us for the future and the local response to the travel solution has been good.”

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