With the rapid increase in global air travel, we’re seeing the adoption of improved immigration control systems across the world. These days, it’s all about automating processes which help to streamline the passenger journey.
A new system is gaining momentum at busy airports with the aim of making travelling easier. Enter the e-Gate. Today, in many countries, e-Gates are starting to replace customs officers both on arrival, as well as Biometric Exit at boarding to leave the country. More informally, e-Gates are starting to be adopted by airlines at the entrance of airport lounges.
According to ABI Research, e–Gates are gaining an increasingly pivotal role in border protection and growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.9%. It is estimated that annual e-Gate shipments will increase from 1,166 units in 2021 to 2,400+ units by 2027.
A brief history of e-Gates
e-Gates, officially known as automated border control (ABC) systems, verify a traveller’s identity using biometrics. In addition to increasing operational efficiency, e-Gates help to accurately collect data and immediately accept or reject boarding passengers, improving passenger convenience across key touchpoints.
According to Airport Technology, plans to introduce machine-readable passports first started in the late 1990s as part of global effort to speed up border controls . In the early 2000s, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) set new standards further expanding the concept of e-passports and e-Gates. The technology has since vastly improved, with deployments in over 20 US airports and most European hubs.
How do e–Gates work?
An e-Gate allows travellers to be processed and admitted to a destination in a seamless and efficient manner. Biometric verification plays a crucial role within a Border Control Management (BCM) system while significantly reducing potential delays at customs and inspection windows . Various methods of passenger identification have been trialed over the years, through capture from dedicated sensors, facial biometrics, along with iris and fingerprint recognition, assist to provide travellers with a secure and seamless travel experience. Going forward, facial biometrics will be the standard most likely used.
When looking at the functionality of an e-Gate, we typically see three levels of control :
(1) Authenticating that a document at the time of travel is genuine.
(2) Through biometrics, the citizen’s authentic ePassport is validated.
(3) Validating that the passport holder has permission to enter the country.
The growing demand for e-Gates
More and more airports are seeing the added value for biometric e-Gates. The growing demand can be attributed to the following three key factors for border control :
- Enhanced border security
- Increased customer experience
- Optimization in staffing
Enhanced border security
The threat of terrorism is one of the primary reasons why countries would deploy an e-Gate . Because of biometrics, e-Gates are better designed to validate boarding passengers while handling a higher throughput – advancing boarding time while reducing fraud, with built-in infrared optical sensors and smart beam technology.
When deploying e-Gates at an airport, travelers use their boarding pass or biometric facial recognition to seamlessly pass through security and then board the aircraft using automatic barriers. These touchpoints are integrated with Embross’ passenger software to confirm only authorized travelers can proceed.
Increased customer experience
There’s no doubt that biometric e-Gates help to reduce flight delays, streamline processing time, and increase travelers’ check-in times. According to Bloomberg, flights in 2022 were mostly self-inflicted, with airlines triggering close to 58% of late flights. Therefore, a robust e-Gate is an important differentiator in attracting travelers. At Embross, our e-Gate is designed with scalability in mind and can be configured in almost any airport environment and with additional modules.
Optimization in staffing
e-Gates bring a substantial level of automation, allowing border control authorities to reduce staffing needs. By greatly reducing agent-assisted checkpoints, airports can speed up passenger processing, helping to remove any congestion and increase check-in accuracy which is more reliable than humans.
Examples of e-Gate deployments around the world
Until now, most e-Gates have been deployed in airports across Europe, Asia, Australia, and most recently in Canada. Most major airports in the U.K. have deployed them where they have been used by Border Force since 2008. In March 2021, the Home Office stated there were 263 e-Gates in operation across 23 U.K. locations with control offices in Brussels and Paris.
Examples of international aviation hubs which have already implemented e-Gates are Copenhagen Kastrup in Denmark; Munich and Frankfurt in Germany; and Narita Airport in Japan to name a few.
At Embross, our e-Gate enables travellers to enjoy a seamless experience, without having to display their travel documents or boarding pass. We have been providing passenger control e-Gates using NEXUS authentication with examples ranging from the first in 2013 at Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
Here are a few of our other e-Gate deployments:
Edmonton International Airport (YEG)
Edmonton International serves 8+ million passengers per year and offers non-stop connections to over 60 destinations across Canada, the United States, and overseas. In 2019, Embross worked with part of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) program for enhanced security processing. This included the provision of 6 Embross security pre-clearance V-Gates.
Riyadh King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
The airport serves the city of Riyadh and is the second biggest airport in Saudi Arabia. In 2019, Embross deployed a self-boarding gate connected to the DCS of the airlines with passport reading function/capability.
Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority is the operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). In 2020, Embross deployed e-Gates and mobile handheld devices for agents assisting passengers with reduced mobility.
As more countries start adopting any form of automation to advance their customs and entry process, its vital for travellers to see if an e-Gate system is available and what the eligibility requirements are for using them. The next logical step is biometric enrolment – automating touchpoints and identity verification to accelerate passenger PNR lookup, document authentication, and a number of other activities performed in a self-service environment.
Embross, along with its partners, will continue to provide a fully seamless gate entry process and improve synergies that could benefit all those involved. Airlines and airports are leaning towards a more contactless experience, whilst maintaining the same high standards and as such, Embross is proud to work with its partners to reach these mutual goals.
For a more seamless e-Gate installation, we encourage you to learn more on the following system and biometric standards:
DOC 93: Machine Readable Travel Documents (International Civil Aviation Organization)
ISO/IEC (International Organization for Standardization) 19794-5:2011 and ISO/IEC 19794-7:2014
Biometric data interchange formats
ISO/IEC TR 29195:2015
Traveller processes for biometric recognition in automated border control systems
Identification cards. Chip cards. Biometrics
Cards and security devices for personal identification
NIST SP 800-59
Identifying an Information System as a National Security System
NIST SP 500-288
Specification for WS-Biometric Devices (WS-BD)
Embross offers border agencies, government authorities and airports a complete portfolio of solutions that help secure, automate, and facilitate border and passenger management. If you would like to learn more, please contact a member of our expert team: firstname.lastname@example.org