Innovative Travel Solutions (ITS) by Vancouver International Airport (YVR) recently successfully completed a six-month pilot program involving four BorderXpress kiosks at Keflavik International Airport (KEF) in Iceland. The kiosks were part of a pilot to simulate the impending requirements of the Entry/Exit System (EES) for the Schengen Area. During the pilot program, which began in June 2019, the kiosks safely processed more than 9,500 passengers in accordance with the new security and data collection requirements outlined by the European Union. Almost 20 per cent of travellers were families and couples who were able to proceed together to a single kiosk before completing the rest of the border process at the primary inspection booth.
“We commend Isavia for taking a proactive approach to futureproofing KEF, as they prepare to fulfill the new Entry-Exit regulations. We also recognize that the strong partnership formed between Isavia, the Icelandic Police and Innovative Travel Solutions was a critical component to a successful integration process,” says Craig Richmond, President and CEO, Vancouver International Airport Authority. “We have the proven experience to deliver an effective Entry-Exit solution and the Iceland pilot is further proof of the importance of innovating now to find a smart solution to border control.”
Isavia operates all airports in Iceland, including KEF, which is the largest border crossing point in the country. As part of the pilot program, BorderXpress kiosks were available for Third Country Nationals (TCN) and EU/EEA/CH citizens to use when entering Iceland. Among the key findings, Isavia reported that TCN travellers entering the Schengen Area for the first time took an average of 64 seconds to process and travellers making subsequent visits were processed in only 42 seconds. These times do not include the additional and optional declaration questions from the workflow, and all processing times are dependent on the number and complexity of questions asked by individual border authorities. The pilot at KEF provided an important opportunity to better understand the border authority technical requirements, as well as traveller behaviour, which then helps determine the right questions to ask to minimize overall transaction time.
Developing and implementing a border control process that was optimal for KEF required ongoing collaboration. ITS was able to draw on its experience as an airport operator to form best practices with Isavia, and the support of the Icelandic Police allowed the kiosk technology to be customized to meet their specific requirements. This collaborative approach allowed ITS to design a solution that was effective for all parties in only 12 weeks—resulting in an efficient and seamless integration process.
“The pilot program was an excellent opportunity to introduce automated, self-service border control technology, trial a range of workflows and gather key information to prepare us for the impending regulations,” says Gudmundur Dadi Runarsson, Technical and Infrastructure Director at Keflavik Airport. “We’re able to use these insights to modernize our border control system, while also improving the overall passenger experience and safety of our airport.”
BorderXpress is a solution that uses self-service biometric-enabled kiosks to expedite the border control process. The kiosks are simple, efficient and highly intuitive, proven to reduce passenger wait times by more than 60 per cent. They can process any passenger, including families travelling as a group, and can be set up in any language required. They offer better exception handling and are fully accessible to persons with disabilities.
In a White Paper published by InterVISTAS, the study concluded that the use of kiosks for border control significantly outperforms competing technologies, such as eGates, providing a much higher output of passengers. This results in cost and space savings and supports border authorities, allowing their officers to focus on maintaining the safety of the border, rather than administrative duties.