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Sun 1 Oct 2006 04:00 AM

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Cairo Airport to introduce e-gates in terminal revamp

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Biometric immigration gates are to be introduced at Cairo Airport in Egypt as part of the US$400million Terminal 3 development.

Systems integrator Arinc has won the US$22million contract to build the IT infrastructure at the terminal, due to open in early 2008, which includes the country’s first e-gates, which will be built using technology from French communications equipment supplier Sagem and systems integrator Arinc at a cost of up to US$5million.

Jelloul Hamrouni, Arinc’s director of airport services for the Middle East, said the technology would be used to provide an optional fast track entry and exit system for passengers carrying Egyptian residents visas.

The e-gates will use fingerprint recognition technology to authenticate the identity of passengers who have paid to use the system, before letting them pass through automatically without having to show their passports to immigration authorities.

Although the system is optional, Hamrouni claimed it could still lead to enhanced security as there is scope to link the database of passenger fingerprints with police, immigration and airline databases.

The system should definitely lead to a speedier, more convenient service, Hamrouni claimed. “The police will focus only on cases where there is difficultly with visas or with passports.”

It has not yet been decided how many of the biometric immigration gates will be built at the terminal — but Hamrouni believes that if the scheme is successful it will be rolled out to the airport’s other existing two terminals.

“Our contract is for the new terminal but I would not be surprised if, once tested and working, they will extend it to the two other terminals.”

The terminal 3 development at Cairo Airport includes 14 airport IT systems from passenger check-in systems and flight information displays to resource management systems and an Arinc airport operational database (AODB).

Hamrouni explained that the terminal will feature two other technology debuts for Egypt —the country’s first common use self-service check-in kiosks (CUSS) built using technology from Arinc and an airport ramp management (ARM) system from Appear, which uses a “context aware platform”.

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