Abu Dhabi Airports has launched advanced biometrics which uses a passenger’s facial features to validate their identity, and thereby reduce the time they spend undergoing multiple passport and boarding pass checks before boarding their flight.

Smart cameras capture a passenger’s face and confirms whether they are cleared to travel.

The same information is then used prior to boarding, avoiding the need for them to present their documents again.

The technology will be implemented in phases, and the first phase is currently being tested at the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in Abu Dhabi International Airport, the only US immigration preclearance service in the region that allows passengers to clear US immigration while they are still in Abu Dhabi.

This system, wholly financed by Abu Dhabi Airports and delivered by NEXT50, an Abu Dhabi tech-based company, will be tested on Etihad Airways flights to the US, and is phase one of a major roll-out that will be introduced throughout the entire airport for passengers travelling by all airlines over the coming months.

Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri, managing director and chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “We are looking forward to leveraging this holistic biometric technology. The project will commence at Abu Dhabi International Airport and then transferred to the new Midfield Terminal in the future as we continue to be committed to enhancing the airport services and experience.”

Major General Suhail Saeed Al Khaili, the director general of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security, added: “This advanced technology provides a smooth passenger customer journey, by leveraging biometric data records, which will enable travellers at Abu Dhabi International Airport to check in, clear immigration, access lounges and board their flights using only biometric data, without the need to present passports or boarding passes”.

Etihad is increasing flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York from four to 11 flights a week starting November 15, 2022.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, group chief operations officer, Etihad Aviation Group said: “This innovation is an important next step in Etihad’s self-service journey. It means Etihad’s US flights become even more streamlined, on top of the benefit of arriving as a US domestic passenger without the need for further delays.”