Emirates’ innovations at the airport facilitate a safe resumption of travel, providing an even more enhanced passenger experience. A lot changes in a year. During the summer travel period, which lasted through July and August, Emirates welcomed approximately 1,2 million passengers at its Dubai hub. In the same period of 2020, it served 402.000 passengers. These data reveal that international travel to and through Dubai is safely and seamlessly resuming. According to IATA’s latest 2021 World Air Transport Statistics, Emirates was the largest international airline, carrying 2020 million passengers in 15,8.
Since Dubai reopened its doors to international visitors, Emirates has gradually reinstated its network and timetables, starting in July 2020 with only a handful of cities, and today it has expanded to more than 120 destinations. The airline plans to add more flights on over 20 Emirates routes by October.
Always aiming to offer the best possible travel experience, especially during this turbulent time in international travel, Emirates has continued to offer new and innovative passenger services, ensuring the health and safety of its passengers and employees, and providing the most up-to-date travel information to travelers from all over the world. These investments over the past 12 months have allowed Emirates to facilitate the resumption of travel while improving the passenger experience at the same time.
Increasing momentum in digital innovation – Biometric, self-service check-in kiosks
In 2019, Emirates began testing and implementing its biometric technology at various touchpoints at the airport. The airline accelerated the process of implementing its biometric technology last year and today Emirates has more than 30 biometric cameras actively operating at Dubai’s Airport, including check-in counters, First and Business Class lounge entrances and select boarding gates.
Since the launch of the application, more than 58.000 passengers have used this easy, contactless and secure verification option to enter the Emirates Lounge, while over 380.000 passengers have chosen to go through biometric gates to board their planes.
Observing an increase in the number of passengers who prefer to use biometric channels with the epidemic, Emirates plans to increase the number of boarding gates with biometric scanners. The airline is also working closely with stakeholders at Dubai airport, including the immigration authority (GDRFA), to re-launch the Smart Gates application, which uses new contactless technology to allow eligible passengers to pass passport control in seconds on arrival and departure.
The number of users using Emirates’ new self-service check-in and baggage claim kiosks has been increasing since it went live in September 2020, allowing passengers to check-in, get boarding passes, choose a seat on board and drop off baggage. In July and August alone, more than 568,000 passengers took advantage of this convenient service and proceeded quickly and directly to the passport control counters at the airport, without waiting in line at the counters. Following positive feedback from passengers, Emirates will add six more self-service check-in and baggage delivery kiosks to its First and Business Class terminal area later this month.
Emirates introduced new technology last year, making it easier for passengers to report delayed or damaged baggage on emirates.com. This app reduces paperwork and stress while increasing transparency and enabling Emirates to better serve its passengers in checking, tracking and resolving their baggage inquiries.
Latest travel requirements – COVID19 travel information centre, IATA Travel Pass, integration with UAE Health Authorities
In an environment where travel requirements change daily at the country, regional and airport level, Emirates has mobilized all its resources to provide its passengers with the most up-to-date information.
Leveraging its global network and ground teams to collect and verify the most up-to-date entry requirements for each destination, Emirates’ COVID-19 information center, updated at least once a day, has become one of the most reliable sources of information for passengers.
Emirates is also playing a pioneering role in using digital verification solutions for travel, from using the IATA Travel Pass to collaborating with UAE health authorities to ensure seamless digital checks of COVID-19 travel documents. These projects offer many benefits, from a better passenger experience to less paper use and increased efficiency and reliability in travel document checks. Emirates was one of the first airlines to register for IATA’s Travel Pass in April, and today offers this convenience to passengers traveling between Dubai and 10 cities. The airline plans to expand its service coverage on its flight network as IATA continues to grow and engage with service providers in more countries. By October, the airline will switch to IATA Travel Pass for its passengers at all of its destinations.
Health and safety
Over the past year, Emirates has worked closely with authorities and aviation partners to ensure the health and safety of all passengers and employees at the airport, even during times when health protocols are constantly changing around the world.
Emirates had implemented advanced cleaning and disinfection protocols at all passenger touchpoints at the airport and on board before COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Emirates has implemented physical distancing in all areas, while placing protective screens at all check-in counters at the airport.
All biological safety protocols are constantly reviewed and updated in line with the most up-to-date medical guidelines. Emirates also piloted robotic cleaning in its signature lounges at Dubai Airport, leveraging its partnership with the UAE for the Aviation X-lab innovation development center programme. These robots use special technology to eliminate most viruses and provide a healthier environment.
In February 2020, in addition to being one of the first airlines to switch to PPE (personal protective equipment) for their front-line employees, Emirates launched a company-wide campaign to encourage employees to protect themselves and others with the launch of COVID-19 vaccines and as a result of this study, more than 95% of all employees had the full dose of vaccination.