Hitech security gates at Bahrain airport
Manama, November 9, 2008
High security immigration gates that use biometric technology to scan travellers' passports are to be installed at Bahrain International Airport, officials have confirmed.
The ImmSec system will use Smart cards, fingerprint readers and LCD monitors to identify travellers and scan their luggage.
Bahrain could become only the third country in the world to implement the technology after the UK and Japan and officials hope it will be up and running by the end of the year.
Four gates will initially be installed, two in arrivals and two in the departures hall, with plans to add more after a trial period.
The system is a product of Swedish company Gunnebo Security Group, which won the approval of the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence (GDNPR) after a tender process.
The Securicore Group, Gunnebo's business partners and agents in Bahrain, will implement and maintain the immigration gates for five years, confirmed Securicore assistant executive director Ahmed Naffea.
GDNPR computer department and statistics head Adel Al Khajah said officials decided to replace the old e-gate system to improve the experience for travellers.
"We asked for proposals from companies following the directives of Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and Interior Ministry Under-Secretary for Nationality, Passports and Residence Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa to see which product matches our requirements," he said.
"Securicore Group were chosen as their product matches our requirements."
ImmSec is a control system that permits only one person at a time to pass through the gate, but it can identify single and multiple configurations of people.
Luggage, infants and children are also detected by the system, using an integrated overhead detection system that is able to verify people who fraudulently attempt to violate immigration security protocols.
Once the traveller has stepped into the gates, the entry swing door panels close and lock and the detection technology simultaneously verifies the identity of the person based on his/her fingerprints and a Smart card.
"If the traveller's Smart card is valid, the gate will open and ask for his/her fingerprints and if conformation on the identity is clear they can pass," said Al Khajah.
Once the traveller has passed through the gate the doors close and the walkway area is scanned for any items left behind or people attempting to sneak through.
The system will be linked to the Central Informatics Organisation's (CIO) server to verify travellers' identities.
The gate can also identify wheelchair users and allows them the same access as able-bodied travellers.
"Being the third country to implement this system shows that Bahrain is trying to implement the latest technology available worldwide," said Al Khajah.
"We will place an officer at the gates to help in trouble-shooting and if any traveller faces a problem he will be there to help and make sure the process goes smoothly."
The gate will accept travellers in three phases with the first for Bahrainis with Smart cards.
"Then hopefully GCC nationals can use their countries' Smart cards to enter through these gates," said Al Khajah.
"Then for the third phase we have plans to let expatriates who hold Bahraini Smart cards use the gate but this will take some time," he added.-TradeArabia News Service