Abu Dhabi Airport to Use Biometric Facial Scanners to Replace Passport Checks


UAE’s Abu Dhabi International Airports (AUH) is preparing to roll out advanced biometric technology that will use a passenger’s facial features as their passport from the time they arrive at the airport until the time they board their flight.

The technology captures an image of the passenger’s face and confirms whether they are permitted to travel using smart cameras.

The same information is then used prior to boarding, eliminating the need for documents to be presented again.

Touchless travel to and from the US

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in Abu Dhabi International Airport is the only US immigration pre-clearance service in the region that enables travellers to clear US immigration while they are still in Abu Dhabi.


The biometric facial scanner technology will be implemented gradually, and its first phase is currently being tested there.

The project will start at Abu Dhabi International Airport and then be moved to the new Midfield Terminal, according to Eng. Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports.

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security’s Director General, Major General Suhail Saeed Al Khaili, stated: “This cutting-edge technology will enable travellers to check in, clear immigration, access lounges, and board their flights using only biometric data, without needing to present passports or boarding passes.”

The USCBP technology is also in place at JFK, ensuring that passengers flying to Abu Dhabi from New York have a smooth boarding experience.


Facial scanner to be tested on Etihad Airways flights

This system will be tested on Etihad Airways flights to the United States, and it is the first phase of a major roll-out that will be implemented throughout the airport in the coming months for all airlines to benefit from.

The launch of this cutting-edge technology was announced on the first day of the Abu Dhabi Air Expo 2022, which is being hosted by Abu Dhabi Airports at Al Bateen Executive Airport from November 1 to 3.

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.”


This move comes as Etihad prepares to increase its flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York from four to eleven per week beginning November 15, 2022.

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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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