In order to curb the virus, UAE has rolled out a smart travel option that only requires your face for identification. An article by Khaleej times confirms that the integrated bio metrics which was first introduced in Gitex 2019 was formally unveiled by top authorities at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) on Monday, February 22.
With the latest technology in place, the bio metrics scans the face and iris for recognition. Passengers can easily check in, access the lounge, complete immigration and board the flight by just strolling through the airport. The Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of GDRFA, Dubai, said, “In the future, we expect immigration terminals will not exist. People will be able to stroll through the airport to complete all formalities. The time taken to complete immigration formalities will solely depend on how fast an individual is able to walk.”
This is a huge step forward for the people of UAE as it reduces the interaction between staff and encourages a contact-less travel. Emirates and Etihad in partnership with IATA (International Air Travel Association) have also introduced digital passport which can be operated from your phone. These will include all your vaccine records, PCR tests and pre travel documents that are required by the country of destination. It enables passengers to submit their Covid-tests status to the airline before even being at the airport by applying through the app. According to Arabian business, the initial phase is set to begin in April, Etihad said the IATA Travel Pass will initially be offered to passengers on selected flights from Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2021. If successful, the pass will be extended to other destinations on the Etihad network. The app will also have information about the different Covid restrictions and requirements from different countries. Eventually, the app will also have information on the testing centers and vaccine centers available in the country of departure making it a convenient for passengers to
The best way to get travel started is by taking precautionary measures, and UAE is the first country that is making it possible. An article by Arabian Business states that the launch of the IATA Travel Pass is expected to overpower the losses faced by the airline industry to $7.1 billion. However, the airline authorities said that full return to air travel is not expected until 2024 at least, but with smart travel we are one step closer to achieving this.