Dubai is to expand its smart gates programme and introduce new software systems, in order to reduce travel times at airports.

The general directorate of residency and foreigners affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai) announced the investments in their official Manafez newsletter.

The authority aims to boost the use of airport smart gates by registering four million travellers for the programme over the next three years.

"Smart gates will not only enable us to absorb the increasing number of passengers and guarantee smooth flow of traffic at the airport, but also improve security."

The GDRFA said that it will create an electronic linkage system with Emirates Airlines at Dubai International Airport to reduce travel time for departures by 50% from the current time of approximately 30min.

The GDRFA added that new systems and procedures will be implemented to speed up travel for arrivals, which will include new software and advance passenger information system (APIS). These systems are expected to reduce travel time for arrival by 60%.

By the end of the programme, there will be a total of 102 smart gates at Dubai International Airport and the new Al Maktoum International Airport.

Smart gates were introduced in January 2013 and are equipped with functions such as automatic identification system, facial imprint and automatic iris scan. These gates are specially designed to help speed up the passport control procedures.

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GDRFA-Dubai deputy director general Major General Obaid Moheir bin Suroor was quoted by Gulf Business as saying: "Smart gates will not only enable us to absorb the increasing number of passengers and guarantee smooth flow of traffic at the airport, but also improve security."

UAE nationals, residents and visitors can register for the smart gates at GDRFA-Dubai headquarters, Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 1 and 3, Emirates Airlines headquarters and aviation services provider dnata.

The airport is also planning to open a new concourse next year, which will be designed to handle 18 million passengers annually and accommodate 17 aircraft.

Dubai is currently developing the Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, which will be able to accommodate close to 160 million passengers after completion.