Bahrain e-gate to make travel easy
Manama, February 12, 2008
A new e-gate at Bahrain International Airport's arrival area, where Bahraini travellers can use their Smartcards instead of passports, was officially launched yesterday (Monday).
A ceremony marking the occasion was held under the patronage of Interior Ministry Under-secretary for Nationality, Passports and Residence Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa at the airport's arrival area.
Passports are being replaced by Smartcards at the e-gates, said assistant under-secretary for nationality, passports and residence Shaikh Ahmed bin Isa Al Khalifa.
'This marks a major milestone in our e-government technology,' he told the Gulf Daily News.
'The launch of the e-gate service came as an innovative initiative from the Bahrain government, aimed at offering most accelerated and best services for travellers.
'The new service saves much time and effort by accelerating check-in time significantly where e-gate service depends on smartcard identification system and fingerprints identification to carry out procedures for passengers.'
The system provides the option to either go through normal gates or the new electronic gates, which save time and effort.
'One of the most important features of the e-gate is that it is provided free of charge, compared to other GCC countries,' said Shaikh Ahmed. This was based on the directives of Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who issued instructions to ensure that service is provided free of charge.'
The ceremony was attended by Bahrain International Airport Company chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa, Central Informatics Organisation (CIO) president Mohammed Al Amer, Bahrain E-government Agency chief executive officer Mohammed Ali Al Qaed, General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence Assistant Under Secretary for Exits, Investigation and Follow Up Colonel Yousif Al Ghatam, Bahrain Airport director Mohammed Thamer Al Ka'abi and senior immigration, Civil Aviation Affairs, CIO and E-government Agency officials.
'Two e-gates have been established at a cost of BD80,000 in the arrival area,' Al Amer told a Press conference. 'Two e-gates will be available at the departure area soon.'
Col Al Ghatam said the service was available on a trial basis over the past two months, and it was used by 2,060 passengers. Those wishing to use e-gates have to obtain smartcards first from the CIO.-TradeArabia News Service