Innovative Travel Solutions (ITS) by Vancouver International Airport recently celebrated the successful completion of a six-month pilot program involving four BorderXpress kiosks at Keflavík International Airport in Iceland.
The kiosks were part of a pilot to simulate the impending requirements of the Entry/Exit System 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% of travelers 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 [operator]Isavia for taking a proactive approach to futureproofing Keflavík, as it prepares 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,” said Craig Richmond, president and CEO of Vancouver International Airport Authority.
As part of the pilot program, BorderXpress kiosks were available for third-country nationals (TCN) and EU/ European Economic Area/ Swiss citizens to use when entering Iceland. Among the key findings, Isavia reported that TCN travelers entering the Schengen Area for the first time took an average of 64 seconds to process and those 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 provided an opportunity to better understand the border authority technical requirements, as well as traveler behavior, helping determine the right questions to ask to minimize overall transaction time.
Developing and implementing a border control process that was optimal for Keflavík 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 enabled the customization of the kiosk technology. This collaborative approach meant that ITS could design a solution that was effective for all parties in just 12 weeks.
“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,” said Gudmundur Dadi Runarsson, technical and infrastructure director at Keflavík 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 uses self-service biometric-enabled kiosks to expedite the border control process. The kiosks have been proven to reduce passenger wait times by more than 60%. They can process any passenger, including families traveling as a group, and can be set up in any language required. They also offer better exception handling and are fully accessible to persons with disabilities.