Known as one of the most efficient and traveler-friendly airports worldwide, and committed to improve traveler processing and security, Montevideo’s Carrasco International Airport (the largest in Uruguay) has just inaugurated an innovative integrated Border Control solution. Easy Airport is the program that is offering passengers and for the first time in the country, self-service Automated Border Control, reinforced by the simultaneous modernization of assisted procedures. Vision-Box™ is one of the designated partners to meet the goal of the overarching SISCA Integrated Airport Security and Control System of boosting security, whilst revolutionizing the passenger experience.
Puerta del Sur S.A. (part of Corporación America and concessionary of the Carrasco International Airport), and the National Direction of Migration of Uruguay have been developing together a significant transformation of their Border Control Procedures, in the scope of SISCA, a comprehensive program that analyzes, develops and makes use of the best technologies and procedures to control and secure airport facilities, verify travelers and cargo, as well as facilitate passengers along their airport journey.
Travel document readers and finger print scanners were introduced in 2014 into manual document control procedures for arriving and departing travelers. Last week, a very significant milestone was reached for SISCA and for Puerta del Sur: the inauguration of the state-of-the-art integrated Border Control solution. Integrating both Automated and manual Border Control, the solution was designed and implemented by Vision-Box™. With proven Automated Border Control solutions in more than 70 airports in all continents, the company was the selected partner to ensure the main goals were accomplished: improve security in border processing and transforming the travelers’ experience.
The inaugural ceremony of this pioneering solution in Carrasco International Airport was held last Friday and attended by distinct members of the Carrasco Airport, both national and international Government authorities and Vision-Box™. Passengers could go through immigration procedures experiencing the brand new Automated Border Control eGates and the response as very positive!
State-of-the-art Automated Border Control composes the “Easy Airport”
Carrasco International Airport (aeropuertodecarrasco.com.uy) is the first Entry/Exit point of the country to implement Automated Border Control. This is a breakthrough in the reliability of security checks and in the optimization of operations, but also in passenger experience, offering an agile, quick, convenient border crossing process. Hence the campaign name “Easy Airport”.
As a fully automated process, a robust bank of Vision-Box™ vb i-match™ eGates is operational at Arrivals offering a full self-service experience and ensuring passport authentication, background checks and biometric passenger verification.
The system compares the facial image stored in the chip of the passengers’ passport against the live captured image, all according to the highest quality and security international standards, making sure that the traveler has a valid document and is the genuine owner of the document. After this first step is successfully accomplished, the traveler will be asked to select his/her flight through a user-friendly display available at the eGate.
According to Eng. Ricardo Cerri, CTO at Puerta del Sur,“The new procedure will have a huge impact in streamlining passenger journey at the airport, especially with the reduction of waiting times. We are expecting a reduction of transaction times per person in migratory procedures to drop around 65%, which is a direct benefit to the user of Easy Airport, but also for the users of manual booths, which will also be relieved from congestion. We are very happy to be able to offer our travelers more convenience, agility and efficiency while contributing in securing the border control in Uruguay.”
In reference to the official inauguration of the new Automated eGates, the Minister of Interior, Mr Eduardo Bonomi, underlined that “(the eGates) give the country safety and swiftness. Safety because passengers cannot skip the identification process bearing their Uruguayan ID or passport, which compares immediately and accurately against unforgeable data. And swiftness because now a process that usually takes longer, with this solution is quite faster.”
Furthermore, the Minister mentioned that the technological investment associated with the installation of the Automated eGates corresponds to Puerta del Sur S.A., and the investment related to the electronic passport and electronic IDs correspond to the Ministry of Interior, which has released 95,000 and 950,000 documents, respectively.
Easy Airport is available for all international flights. Eligible travelers are all Uruguayan citizens with electronic document (Passport or Identity Card with chip) older than 18 years; in the future, Argentine travelers are expected to be able to use the eGates.
Optimized Manned Border Control
Also subject to a modernization process, manned control booths have been endowed with new touchpoints to optimize processes: vb AIC desktops (Automated Immigration Control) are being used to assist Border Guards in identifying passengers. The traveler simply presents his face and fingerprints to the desktop, to be respectively matched with the travel document and the Immigration backend system in order to be correctly identified.
A future-proof comprehensive platform for border management
Vision-Box™ (vision-box.com) implemented a state-of-the-art Border Control solution capable to address the challenge of improving security and operational efficiencies on the whole, while simultaneously putting in place quick, convenient traveler identification procedures at the airport. Therefore, both ABC eGates and vb AIC desktops are integrated into a robust software suite for real-time management of the whole security infrastructure as well as interface with watch lists such as Interpol.
This platform is ready to support the current and future stages of SISCA. While the basis for privacy-responsible data exchange between all travel stakeholders, corner stone for SISCA, have already been assured, this future-proof platform is ready to serve forthcoming expansion goals of the airport: it is expected that an End-to-End Passenger Flow system based on a single biometric token is implemented covering most of the passenger identification touch-points such as security checkpoints and self-boarding gates, as well as vb orchestra™, a passenger-centric and comprehensive common-use based suite for airport, airlines, and governments’ managed services, with rich, flexible intelligence tools for informed decision-making and data-driven airport management.
Jean-François Lennon, Vice-President for Global Business Development & Sales of Vision-Box™ already foresees that “aligned with the vision of Corporación America, the airport itself and the country, this solution is expected to grow even further towards a completely self-service integrated passenger experience, processing all passengers arriving or departing, connecting all entry and exit touch points.”
The introduction of this integrated border management solution, together with the implementation of SISCA, opens way to a range of international collaborative border control initiatives, tighter security and enhanced efficiencies. The program, participated by other countries, allows for the capture, reception and sharing of information on travelers with border control authorities even outside Uruguay. This includes traveler identity, booking details, payment method, rented vehicles, baggage taken to the seat on the plane: every detailed information allows for a beforehand analysis by the Uruguayan authorities on expected passengers’ profile, risk assessment, verifications against watch lists, predictive analysis, the anticipation of threats at the border, and the intelligent management of resources according to needs.
Additionally, the planned introduction of biometrics into an Advance Passenger Information set of data, and its combination with the biographic capabilities, will allow for authorities to establish, up-front, the risk-based assessment of travelers, acting on it early in the process, focus on persons of interest and provide better border services including streamlining their ground operation and creating more hassle-free experiences.
Jean-François Lennon, added that “Carrasco Airport is now enjoying the benefits of modern, state-of-the art technology. We are proud to be working with such a forward-thinking partner and we will certainly be working together in the future to achieve more, together, leveraging smart data to the benefit of actionable intelligence, efficient processes and a distinct experience for their customers, and keeping Carrasco and Puerta del Sur a reference hub in Latin America!”