Curaçao International Airport inaugurates eGates

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~Discover the ease of using the eGates: An innovative tool for border control~

WILLEMSTAD – Curaçao International Airport has officially inaugurated its state-of-the-art integrated Automated Border Control system, referred to as “eGates,” which are now fully operational and available to all passengers passing our International Airport.

After a week of testing and four months of hard work by all stakeholders involved, the eGates are officially operational and ready to use at both arrivals and departures. Whether arriving or departing, locals and tourists (staying up to 3 months) over 18 years of age, and holding a European, Canadian or American ePassport are now able to use the eGates and control their own clearance process, authenticating their passport and claiming their identity through facial biometric verification.

Tourists and visitors staying a maximum of 3 months also have to fill in the online Embarkation/Disembarkation (ED) card 24 hours before arrival in Curaçao (via www.Curaçao.com) to be able to use the eGates. The eGates will make the Curaçao International Airport even more welcoming to the eyes of all visitors.

An innovative step for Curaçao

“Today is a milestone for Curaçao as it officially becomes the second country in the Caribbean region to offer its passengers this innovative form of automated border control,” said Minister of Economic Development Eugene Rhuggenaath at the official launch at the arrivals hall of the Curaçao International Airport.

Minister Rhuggenaath stressed the importance of continuous quality optimization and innovation of the airport, “after all the tourism sector is one of the most important economic pillars of our country, and believes improving the overall airport experience is key to making a good first

Impression on all our visitors.”

Minister of Government Policy, Planning and Service Etienne van der Horst, who spoke on behalf of Minister Nelson Navarro, about the need to increase border control security worldwide, and the introduction of eGates as a tool to aid Immigration officers in improving border protection at Curaçao International Airport.

Van der Horst emphasized that this tool will enable the borders to be safer, and give the officers a chance to focus on the important aspects of their function. The Director of Curaçao Airport Holding and CEO of Curaçao Airport Partners Wilhelmus Ignacio spoke next about future plans for Curaçao’s airport.

“This is only the first step towards bettering the airport experience for our guests,” said Ignacio, “Let us continue working together to demonstrate that unity makes the impossible, possible.”

He indicated that projects are already in place to tackle the baggage claim process and customs. CEO of Curaçao Airport Partners Ralph Blanchard commended Curaçao Airport Holding on initiating such an innovative process and commended their visionary approach towards the betterment of the airport experience.

Head of the General Police Department Elbert Sambo noted that, “Passengers will now see that the arrivals and departure halls have received a face lift, but this face lift will also be present in the new image of immigrations. This is just the beginning of the improvements for immigration. We will continue to improve and collaborate with airport stakeholders to reach the next level.”

All speakers spoke of the collaboration among stakeholders in realizing such a complex project in 4 short months. This is the shortest and most integral implementation time that the eGates vendors, Vision-box, have experienced. Director of KPMG in the Dutch Caribbean Jason Nisbet commended the unique collaboration between all stakeholders and local businesses, successfully bridging the gap between the private and public sectors.

He acknowledged the hard work and dedication of each stakeholders, and commended their ability to focus on the higher purpose: improving the first impression of the island. KPMG in the Dutch Caribbean was appointed from December 2015, to coordinate the entire implementation phase.

Curaçao Airport Holding (CAH) as main sponsor and promoter, along with the Ministry of Justice, Curaçao Airport Partners (CAP), Curaçao’s Police Force (KPC), Vision-box (as technical supplier), Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB), and Curaçao Hotel and Tourism Association (CHATA), worked alongside each other to ensure the smoothest introduction and operation of the e-Gates, with the ultimate goal of providing a better service and improving border protection at Curaçao International Airport.

A multimedia communications plan is in place where all stakeholders have a role in informing all involved such as the airlines, hotels, tour operators, passengers and the public of Curaçao.

Ready-to-use eGates

The e-Gates, two in the departure hall and six in the arrivals hall, will be available for all passengers (for visitors for a period of maximum 3 months), over 18 years of age, and who are in possession of an American, European or Canadian passport with chip. It is also important to know that people born in Curaçao, and living abroad also need to fill out an online ED card, as they are not recorded in the civil register and are therefore considered non-residents.

The ED card can be filled out online and must be completed 24 hours before departure of the flight from Curaçao. Please visit www.Curaçao.com/edcard for more information.

Passengers staying in Curaçao for longer than three months or who have a temporary residence permit, have to report at the usual Immigration service counters to carry out the necessary border control procedures.

How to use the eGates

On approaching the eGate and selecting their flight, passengers validate their passports. After that, they enter the eGate and simply look at a camera and a biometric photo of their facial features is automatically taken, verifying the photo against the information stored in their passports’ chip.

This takes just a few seconds. No further process or direct interaction with Border Officers is needed and: border is cleared!

An instructional video was developed that will be posted on CTB’s website. For more information visit the website at www.curaçao.com.

Photos by Ramsey Soemanta