Airport International News - August 2012
Africa’s First Airport Passport Scanners Arrive
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Airport International's Lead Reporter on 15/08/2012 - 06:20:00
Automated airport passport scanning technology has arrived in Africa with the introduction of two systems at Kigali International Airport.
Four years work preceded the installation of the APCS (Automated Passenger Clearance System) devices at Kigali, along with a trial run. Now, the airport boasts a pair of electronic gates that scan passports in order to let passengers enter Rwanda.
According to airport officials, the ACPS technology takes only 17 seconds to carry out each passport scan, dramatically reducing the time taken during human passport checks and, so, reducing the potential for lengthy passenger queues to build up.
First African Passport Scanners
Local media reports state that the introduction of the first African passport scanners at Kigali represents one part of a wider anti-crime effort, too, and - from now on - illegal passage into Rwanda via the airport simply won't be able to take place.
"This new technology will enable passengers move swiftly through immigration procedures and it is important that all the other services within the airport follow suit in quickening their services", Rwandan national carrier RwandAir's Chief Executive Officer, John Mirenge, explained in a statement. In further comments, he called on other parts of Kigali to now similarly ramp up their facilities, with efficiency and speed the key priorities.
Kigali International is Rwanda's main airport and the dominant gateway into the country. Equipped with a single 3,500 metre runway, it also has three passenger terminals and is located close to 5,000 feet above sea level.
Automated Airport Passport Scanners
Besides the new automated airport passport scanners, technology already features throughout Kigali International, with free WiFi having recently been added. The airport is used by a number of carriers including Air Burundi, Air Uganda, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways and Dutch flagship carrier KLM. In 2004, Kigali International Airport handled a little over 135,000 passengers. This year, that total is expected to leap to 450,000 - a 100,000 increase over 2011.
"It's clear that this airport is not big enough and the technology will reduce the tendency of waiting in long queues for clearance", explained Ange Sebutege, representing the Directorate of Immigration and Emigration.
Image copyright Philip Kromer - Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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