news - AEROPORTI DI ROMA
From today, American passport holders departing Leonardo da Vinci Airport can undergo passport checks in around 20 seconds, all thanks to the innovative e-gate service. Thanks to a project implemented by Aeroporti di Roma, by the Public Security Department. - Central Directorate of Immigration and Border Police and by the US Embassy in Italy in collaboration with ENAC and Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the electronic gates – which have thus far only been accessible to European citizens aged 14 and over – can now also be used by American citizens.
It is a highly significant development for the Roman airport, the main connection between Italy and the US with arriving and departing traffic of 2.2 million passengers in 2017, a number expected to increase to 2.6 million in 2018. The new system confirms the strong security relations that exist between the two countries and allows for border control waiting times to be significantly reduced, improving, at the same time, Police checks and making it easier to identify fake passports. In a matter of seconds, the equipment autonomously carries out a series of controls to verify the authenticity and integrity of the documents by analysing the biometrics of the face.
With an average of approximately 20 seconds for each passenger check, a single E-gate is capable of processing thousands of passports per day, generating a drastic reduction in waiting times for passengers departing from FCO, compared with the traditional method. In-depth checks are carried out by Border Police on passengers found to be positive on the police force databases.
With this development, Leonardo da Vinci Airport is the number 1 airport in the world for SITA e-gates, one of the most advanced technologies in this sector: around 36 electronic gates have been installed by Aeroporti di Roma to date, 16 of which are available in the Departure Terminals. In total, 3 million tourists benefited from the automated border control in 2017. In the first 4 months of 2018, a further 30% increase was recorded compared with the previous year, meaning that, by December, approximately 4 million passengers will use the E-gates.
According to the findings of ACI World – an independent organisation that uses passenger interviews to evaluate the quality of the services provided by over 300 airports all over the world, and which awarded the Leonardo da Vinci Airport the “Airport Service Quality Award” as best European airport, with over 40 million passengers – in 2017, e-gates were one of the services most appreciated by Fiumicino’s passengers. Recently, Skytrax also awarded the main national hub the prestigious award of “World’s Most Improved Airport 2018” for improvements made to services offered to travellers, also assigning the airport a 4-star rating (out of a maximum of 5).
“Introducing the e-gates for departing American passengers is a significant result which will improve the travel experience of several million US citizens who, year after year, choose Rome as a destination. I would like to thank the representatives from the US Embassy, the Public Security Department - Central Department of Immigration and Border Police of Viminale, the Interior, Foreign Affairs and ENAC for having joined us in bringing this important innovation to life, one which will further improve exchanges between our two countries,” said Aeroporti di Roma’s Airport Management Director, Ivan Bassato.
“We would like to thank Aeroporti di Roma for having rapidly granted access to the electronic gate service to departing US passport holders. This access is further proof of the solid relationship between our countries in terms of security. The new system, in addition to producing an increase in the efficiency of controls in the departures area, also provides a significant increase in the level of security, enabling the identification of suspected fraudulent passports” said Richard F. Quinn, U.S. Customs and Border Protection - U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Central Director of Immigration and Border Police - Prefect Massimo Bontempi, stated that “the achievement of this important objective, which combines rapid controls with the security of police checks, has been possible thanks to the synergistic collaboration between the Border Police and Aeroporti di Roma.”