Border Control Bottleneck Set to Get Worse

The International Air Transport Association is predicting that airport borders will not be able to cope with the expected increases in passenger numbers.

Brexit Delays

One of the consequences of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union is the removal of freedom of movement within the European Union and the introduction of border controls for people entering the United Kingdom from Europe.

Undoubtedly there will be increased delays at sea, air and tunnel borders.

Infrastructure is the weak link

The problem is bigger than Brexit says the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is predicting that airport infrastructure just isn’t up to coping with the predicted increases in air passengers.

Even some of the busiest airports says IATA simply do not have the infrastructure to accommodate the number of people that are expected to want to travel by air.

More travellers and more barriers to travel.

As the world gets smaller the number of people travelling is increasing rapidly, but the barriers to that travel seem to be increasing.

About two-thirds of the countries in the world require visitors to have a visa and prove the purpose of their visit.

The most difficult countries to enter are in Central and North Africa and North America, but countries with developing economies tend to be more open.

Border Bottle Neck

Regardless of where you are travelling from or to any experienced traveller will tell you that air travel involves three key activities, walking, sitting and queuing.

Walking around terminals, sitting in lounges, on benches at gates or on the airplane itself and queuing.

Count the number of times that you must form an orderly line in between arriving at the airport and boarding your flight.

There are quite a few

  • Check in
  • Security
  • Immigration/ passport control
  • Duty-free
  • Transfer between terminal and boarding area – at some airports
  • Boarding

That is a lot!

IATA believe that one of the biggest delays in the process is the immigration/border control stage, because the human checking a paper document used today is essentially unchanged from the days when passports were first introduced.

This paper-based system is simply to slow to handle the expected increase in traveller numbers without causing delays says IATA.

One ID is the answer

One ID is a system of identifying people using biometric data like fingerprints or facial recognition images and is already being used at some airports for known frequent travellers.

Speaking at the IATA Annual General Meeting Nick Careen IATA SVP of airport, passenger, cargo and security advocated that the wider adoption of the One ID system of identification will help to resolve the passport control bottleneck.

UN endorsement essential

IATA sees the endorsement of the One ID system by the United Nations Civil Aviation Organization as a key step in the wider adoption of the system.

Full introduction will require the aviation industry and governments to work together to develop global standards of identity data.

One ID one check

IATA has called for more focus on the development of a One ID solution that uses data to open-up borders and create a seamless and efficient end to end passenger experience that is seamless and efficient.

It is possible that if visas were linked to an API airlines would be able to check that the person checking in was eligible to enter the country that they want to travel to.

This would mean that checking in for a flight and passing through immigration at both departure and arrival could be done in one operation at check-in.

Looming Problem- Collective Solution

The looming problem says IATA is so large that it will not be possible for some airports to handle, we need to start working together to find the technology that will provide a solution