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Innovative Travel Solutions (ITS) by Vancouver International Airport announced the implementation of four BorderXpress kiosks at Keflavik International Airport (KEF) in Iceland.
The kiosks are part of a six-month pilot to simulate the impending requirements of the entry/exit system (EES) of the Schengen Area, which comprises 26 European states that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. This is a landmark day for both the industry and ITS as they bring their proven expertise in kiosk design and experience as an airport operator to Europe with their end-to-end border control solution, BorderXpress. This is the first automated kiosk-based border control solution in a Schengen member state.
“We recognize the complexity and challenges that many Schengen member states face with the implementation of new regulations for entry and exit border control. Kiosk-based solutions, like BorderXpress, have a critical role to play in helping Schengen member states effectively fulfil the new security and data collection requirements outlined by the European Commission, while also keeping pace with increasing demand for air travel,” said Craig Richmond, president and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority. “Isavia and the Icelandic Police have shown tremendous leadership in preparing for the new regulations and recognizing the importance of future-proofing their airport with a customizable and adaptable solution like BorderXpress.”
The EES is a part of the Smart Border package introduced by the European Commission. It will be fully operational in all the Schengen countries by the end of 2021. The main purpose of the EES is to register data on entry, exit and refusal of entry of third country nationals crossing the external borders of all Schengen member states through a central system.
“As an airport operator ourselves, we have a unique understanding of the challenges airports in Europe are facing. Our demonstrated success as a trusted partner in over 43 airport and seaport locations globally ensures that we are positioned to guide airports and governments as they prepare for EES,” said Chris Gilliland, director, Innovative Travel Solutions. “We are confident that our pilot program with Isavia at Keflavik Airport will further demonstrate the adaptability and effectiveness of BorderXpress, making a meaningful impact on travellers, border control authorities and the airport, alike.”
Isavia operates all airports in Iceland, including KEF, which is the largest border crossing point in the country with more than 95 per cent of the passengers entering the Schengen area through Iceland coming through this airport. The BorderXpress kiosks are available for third country nationals (TCN) and EU citizens to use when entering Iceland. The kiosks have been customized to meet specific requirements of the Icelandic police.
“We at Isavia are always looking for ways to enhance and improve self-service automation for our passengers,” said Gudmundur Dadi Runarsson, technical and infrastructure director at Keflavik Airport. “By running a pilot for this new and innovative solution we want to gather information and prepare ourselves to make the process easier for everyone when the new regulations are implemented. These new kiosks will help to speed up the process for passengers, improve their experience and ensure an enjoyable journey through Keflavik Airport and will provide important information for the development and operation of our new border facility expected to come into use in 2022.”
In July 2018, BorderXpress became the first permanent kiosks to provide entry and exit border control in Europe with the launch of 74 biometric-enabled kiosks at Pafos International Airport and Larnaka International Airport in Cyprus.
BorderXpress uses self-service biometric-enabled kiosks to expedite the border control process. At the kiosk, travellers select their language, scan their travel documents and answer a few simple questions. The kiosk also captures an image of each passenger’s face which can be compared with and verified against the photo in their electronic passport. Travellers then take their completed kiosk receipt to a border services authority.
BorderXpress kiosks are proven to reduce passenger wait times by more than 60 per cent. In a recently published white paper by InterVISTAS, the study concluded that the use of kiosks for border control significantly outperforms traditional immigration processing with a border officer. This results in cost and space savings and allows border authorities to focus on maintaining the safety of the border. BorderXpress provides better exception handling, is fully accessible to persons with disabilities, and can be configured with up to 35 different languages. It can process any passenger, including families travelling as a group.
BorderXpress technology was developed by ITS, an independent business unit within Vancouver International Airport (YVR). ITS specializes in delivering industry-leading travel technology to transform the traveller’s experience. Since 2009, ITS has sold over 1,600 kiosks at 43 airport and seaport locations around the world, helping more than 250 million passengers clear the border safely and securely.