Emirates is gearing up to launch the world’s first “biometric path” which will offer its customers a smooth and truly seamless airport journey at the airline’s hub in Dubai International airport.

Utilising the latest biometric technology – a mix of facial and iris recognition, Emirates passengers can soon check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge, and board their flights, simply by strolling through the airport.

The latest biometric equipment has already been installed at Emirates Terminal 3, Dubai International airport. This equipment can be found at select check-in counters, at the Emirates Lounge in Concourse B for premium passengers, and at select boarding gates. Areas where biometric equipment are installed will be clearly marked.

Trials for the Smart Tunnel, a project by the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) in collaboration with Emirates, was launched on 10 October. It is a world-first for passport control, where passengers simply walk through a tunnel and are “cleared” by immigration authorities without human intervention or the need for a physical passport stamp.

Once its internal tests are completed, Emirates will shortly launch trials for biometric processing at the other key customer points at the airport – check-in, lounge, and boarding gate – and subsequently at transit counters/gates, and for its chauffeur drive services. All biometric data will be stored with GDRFA, and customers invited to participate in the trials will be asked for their consent.

Emirates’ “biometric path” will improve customer experience and customer flow through the airport with less document checks and less queuing. Eventually, the “live” passenger tracking capability will also improve security and the airline’s ability to deliver even better and more personalised services. For instance, enabling the Emirates airport team to locate and assist ‘late’ customers who would otherwise miss their flights.

The airline’s “biometric path” will cover departures, arrivals, transit, chauffeur drive connections, and lounge access in Dubai. Initially focussed on First and Business class travellers, Emirates intends to speedily extend the “biometric path” to Economy class travellers in Dubai, and in the future potentially to other airports outside of Dubai, and also for its own dedicated crew check in facility, Emirates tell us in a pressrelease.