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Moscow airport announces 500,000 traveler milestone for biometric passport control

Yekaterinburg’s ‘cryptobiocabin’ automates passport issuance with biometrics
Moscow airport announces 500,000 traveler milestone for biometric passport control

The Sheremetyevo Alexander S. Pushkin Airport (SVO) serving Moscow announced that more than 500,000 travelers have used its novel biometric passport control system. Efforts to ease the use of biometric passports in the country also include a new automated application booth.

First established in July 2021, the solution was the first in the country to deploy biometric passenger boarding through the state-run EBS (Unified Biometric System). Dubbed ‘Sapsan,’ the e-gates incorporate Smart Engines software for optical character recognition (OCR) and provide both face and fingerprint recognition.

Roughly a year after launch, SVO is now saying that from recent figures, the share of Sapsan users in the total passenger traffic on international flights is expected to increase from 5.3 percent to 10 percent in 2023 when it hopes for a million users of the technology.

Further, the airport unveiled in a blog post on its website further information about the Sapsan e-gates it has currently deployed. SVO said in a late 2021 announcement that Smart Engines software had been incorporated into 20 Sapsan passport e-gates.

Now the company is disclosing that 10 of the e-gates deployed are dedicated to departing passengers and 10 for arriving passengers. According to the blog post, the Sapsan system processes up to 2,000 people per hour on average. Passengers familiar with the system take 30 to 45 seconds to pass through it, according to the post.

SVO also said it is looking at deploying additional Sapsan e-gates in the near future.

A look at Yekaterinburg’s ‘cryptobiocabin’

The SVO milestone in Moscow comes months after MFC Academic, a multifunctional center aiming at simplifying access to services provided by state and local authorities, launched its ‘cryptobiocabin’ for issuing international passports in Yekaterinburg.

Unveiled in February, the biometric capture booths can take photos, scan fingerprints, and read documents’ chip data to automate the passport issuing process entirely, Russian daily Nakanune reported earlier this year.

To take advantage of the booths, citizens have to submit an application to the MFC and receive an individual barcode, which will then need to be scanned in the cryptobiocabin.

After scanning the code, a series of voice and visual instructions guide applicants to take a digital photo and scan their fingerprints and the data page of any existing Russian passport. The data is transferred to the state information system in an encrypted format, checked and, if the result is positive, it is sent to the Goznak factory for the production of documents. The finished biometric passport is transferred to the MFC for issuance to the applicant.

According to Nakanune, as of February 2022, there were 16 cryptobiocabins in the region. They were all reportedly developed by Rostelecom, one of the largest digital services providers in Russia, and produced by Avtomatika (a subsidiary of Rostelecom).

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