x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Dubai Airport's passport control queues could ease

Dubai International Airport is considering introducing two high-tech systems to slash queueing times.

A Dubai Airports statement has advised passengers to check with their airline or airline websites for further information on flight arrival and departure times.
A Dubai Airports statement has advised passengers to check with their airline or airline websites for further information on flight arrival and departure times.

DUBAI // Long passport control queues could soon be eased thanks to new high-tech systems under consideration by the organisation that runs Dubai International Airport.

An official revealed this morning that one of the systems would improve the process of predicting passenger numbers, enabling immigration chiefs to ensure enough staff are on duty at peak periods.

Another would send a boarding pass to the passenger's mobile phone. Scanners at various points in the airport would automatically detect the pass on the handset, removing the need for it to be shown to security staff.

Details of the innovations were revealed by Jill Nealon, senior vice-president of HR and development at Dubai Airports.

"The customer will see reduced queuing times and quicker processing times when they go through the airport," she said. "That's because technology will be doing a lot of the checks, rather than individuals.

"A bottleneck in a queue is often caused because all the counters aren't open. It's not because people don't care, it's because the duty manager on that day at immigration, for example, doesn't know that there's been an aircraft delay, a divert or four late inbound aircraft, so he doesn't open all the desks and put all his immigration officers in."

At present this sort of information is passed on verbally, but Ms Nealon said this arrangement was not sustainable.

"The new technology systems will enable managers to look at one computerised set of information that will predict what the flows will be, and they will be able to make sure all the desks are open when they need to be open."

Other innovations will be introduced at the world's first concourse designed specifically to handle the Airbus A380 double-decker jet, which is currently being built at the airport. When the concourse opens next year, passengers will notice a new approach to shopping.

"The customer will see a whole different range of luxury retail and food and beverage outlets that we aren't able currently to offer because of space constraints," added Ms Nealon.

"A few years ago people used to come through Dubai deliberately because of Dubai Duty Free, that was a big world brand, and obviously that's got a little tired now as time's gone on and other airports have come through.

"What we hope to do is refresh that and bring back to life that reason for coming to Dubai. Even if you're going to Australia you'll want to transit through Dubai because the offering and the experience will be so much richer."

Ms Nealon was speaking in Dubai at the HR Leaders Forum, which was held alongside the Careers UAE recruitment fair for nationals.

"We have 50 different nationalities across our organisation and we have 3,500 employees.

"We are proud of the fact that we have 29 per cent Emiratis in our business and we have 40 per cent at supervisory levels and above. We have an active campaign to increase that."

Careers UAE continues tomorrow at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.