New passport machines come into operation at Dublin Airport

Facial recognition will speed up arrivals at Dublin Airport where 20 machines will be in service across Terminals 1 and 2

The automated passport machines are expected to speed up passenger movement at  Dublin Airport. Photograph: Alan Betson/Irish Times

The automated passport machines are expected to speed up passenger movement at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Alan Betson/Irish Times

 

Electronic passport machines come into service on Thursday at Dublin Airport, following trials which ended in April.

Work has been completed at the airport on 20 self-service automated passport control gates – which allow people entering the country to use electronic passport machines.

There will be 10 gates in each of the airport’s two terminals and a Department of Justice spokesman said additional machines may be installed at the airport and at other ports of entry should it makes operational and financial sense do so.

The automatic border gates will use facial recognition technology and passport readers to conduct security checks on people arriving into the country. The new gates are expected to speed up movement of passengers, with just one immigration officer needed to monitor several gates.

Phase 1 of the “eGate” rollout will include all Irish passengers, EU, EEA and Swiss visitors over18 with an electronic passport. Irish passport card holders will be able to use the gates.

The Department of Justice has said it will consider extending the use of gates to non-EU passport holders using registered traveller programmes, particularly for regular business travellers.

The passport machines will “read” the passport’s electronic chip, including the photo, and run various watch-list checks. A camera will capture the facial image of the passenger and compare it to the passport photo using biometric matching software. The passenger can then exit the gate once given the all clear.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said the move would “greatly enhance our immigration controls, including border security, while at the same time providing an improved passenger experience through self-service and speedier passage through the immigration process”.

He said the arrival of the gates would form part of a wider strategy by the Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) to introduce advance passenger information and passenger name recognition.

Planned changes to immigration services will also include automated checks of Interpol’s lost and stolen travel documents database.

A later phase will introduce a “Registered Traveller Programme”, where, for a fee, non-EU citizens will be able to register to use the gates for reasons of regular travel.

INIS will carry out background checks on these individuals and, if they are granted membership of the programme, they will be able to use their national passport biometric passport to pass through the gates.

The estimated €3 million contract to install the machines was awarded to the Lisbon-based company Vision-Box, which is partnering with Accenture and ESP Global Systems, an IT support company. Vision Box is the industry leader in providing electronic identity management for ports of entry worldwide.

In 2016 13.8 million passengers were processed by immigration services at Dublin Airport, with passenger numbers growing by 46 per cent in the last five years. The gates will be active during the operational hours of the immigration halls.