Sheikh Ahmed raises the Importance of borders debate

Border control agencies worldwide need to be well-prepared to deal with the emerging challenges as the number of passengers travelling across the borders are set to rise exponentially over the next couple of years, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Dubai civil aviation president, chairman of Dubai Airports and chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group will say when he opens the Future of Borders conference today
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Sheikh Ahmed (pictured right)  is inaugurating 'The Future of Borders 2015' Conference, being organised by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-D) at Ritz Carlton hotel in Dubai. Ahead of today's opening Sheikh Ahmed said effective management of borders plays a crucial role in the success of airports. 

“Borders are strategic partners for airports. They should prepare themselves for more important and challenging role in the future,” he said.

Appreciating the effort by the GDRFA-D in organising 'The Future of Borders 2015', Sheikh Ahmed said the Conference will present an excellent opportunity for border control and aviation industry to get together and discuss the challenges and opportunities arising in near future.

"I wish this Conference a big success," said His Highness, while emphasizing on the need to utilise smart technology to its best.

"It is in smart technology that lies the solution to the challenges that face us in dealing with rapidly rising number of air passengers worldwide," he said.

‘The Future of Borders 2015’ brings together 24 eminent speakers from across the world on a single platform to share insights on challenges facing the border control industry and aviation sector and come out with the best solutions in ensuring security and passenger facilitation, shaping the future of borders.

Among the key speakers and panelists are His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority, UAE, who will talk about the efforts of the UAE in emerging as the world’s first choice global travel hub; Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operations Officer, Emirates Airline; Major General Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, Deputy Director General, GDRFA-D; Ms. Angela Gittens, Director General, Airports Council International (ACI); Michael Herrero, Area Manager, Gulf Area, International Air Transport Association (IATA); Colonel Barakat Alkendi, Head of Systems Development Abu Dhabi Police and Chairman of e-Transformation Strategy, Ministry of Interior, UAE; Thani Abdullah Alzaffin, Director General and Board Member, emaratech, UAE; Paul Moltrie, Head of Marketing Airbus Middle East; Fergus Wilson, COO, Aer Lingus; Manuel Van Lijf, Director Product Innovation, Air France-KLM; Pradeep Panicker, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Delhi International Airport Ltd; Paul Griffiths, CEO, Dubai Airports; Jung June Ahn, Executive Director, Public Relations Group, Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC); Piet Demunter, Head of Airport Development, Brussels Airport Company; Lt. Gen. Dr. J.A.J.Leijtens, Commander, Royal Netherlands Marechaussee; Eric Chan Kwon-ki, Director Immigration, Hong Kong; Teresa Hardy , Head of Carrier Delivery, Border Systems Portfolio, Border Force, Home Office, UK; John P. Wagner, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operation, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), USA; John Moorhouse, Regional Director, Middle East and Africa for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australia; Luc Tombal, GM &VP Border Control Transport Critical Infrastructures, Safran Morpho; Mark A . Clifton, President of Products and Solutions, SRI International; Rick Weijermans, Head of External Relations, FRONTEX; David Ploog, Director, M2P Consulting Inc; Sayed hashish, General manager, Public Sector/Middle East and Africa, Microsoft Corporation; and senior security officials, border technology experts and aviation industry heads from the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The UAE’s outstanding aviation infrastructure and its airports are globally recognized as the most advanced and secure. This year the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has acknowledged the UAE for having the safest skies in the world. The UAE scored a success rate of 98.86 per cent in the ICAO’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme, which is the highest in ICAO’s history.

His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy and Chairman of General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), who will be speaking at ‘The Future of Borders 2015’ Conference, said: “This recognition is well reflected in the increasing number of passenger using our airports, that for example resulted in Dubai International Airport claiming the first place for international passenger movements in 2014 and the rapid growth in passenger numbers in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah airports. This has been made possible thanks to the excellent collaboration and coordination of all the private and public sector players.”

With the visitors’ growing knowledge of using smart technology and e-systems, the UAE has been investing heavily in enhancing its airports’ smart gate practice, online check systems, do-it-yourself luggage methods, among others, which directly shrinks the time-consuming parts for a traveler, he remarked.

His Excellency Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General, GDRFA Dubai, said: “The UAE presents a perfect example of the best use of technology in transforming borders and aviation sector as a whole. More than 1.7 million passengers have used the 100 egates installed at the Dubai Airports. We will soon launch Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) to support direct passenger flight connections to 149 cities, thereby tapping into export markets of 13 per cent of world’s population. The APIS system will reduce passenger check in procedure to less than 20 seconds,” he said.

Dubai International Airport, which handled 70.5 million passengers, last year, is now world’s busiest airport. With 103 million passengers expected to use the Dubai International Airport by 2020, the GDRFA-D faces the challenging task of ensuring smooth and fast processing for passengers travelling through the airport.
Major General Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, Deputy Director General, GDRFA-Dubai, said: “The conference provides an ideal platform to present UAE’s successful borders management experiment and its expertise in harnessing the latest technologies, smart gates, smart travel solutions and biometric devices to accelerate and facilitate travel.”

Her Excellency Angela Gittens, Director General of Airports Council International (ACI World), who will also speak at the Future of Borders conference, said: “It is truly remarkable to see the progress that Dubai has made over the years to become the world-class centre of aviation that it is today. Dubai is exemplary of the heights that can be reached when governments fully support aviation and understand its potential to be a powerful driver of social and economic progress.”
Worldwide, the rising number of passengers presents a challenge of developing adequate infrastructure, she said.

It is also important to point out that security processes can be improved, which will positively impact efficiency. Better security and more efficient security are not mutually exclusive ideas. We can achieve both and ACI, along with industry partners, are working diligently towards this goal, she added.
“Airports are no longer simply points of departure and arrival; they are highly complex businesses in their own right which require the coordination of a vast number of stakeholders if safety, security and efficiency are to be maximized. If one piece of the puzzle is out of sync there are often far-reaching consequences,” said Ms Angela.

The conference, through five sessions spanned over two days, will provide valuable insights into the future travel trends, the enlarged responsibilities of border control authorities and the challenges they face in handling the huge increase in passengers’ numbers in the coming years.
Future of Borders 2015 aims to identify the challenges and come out with the best solutions to shape the future of borders and aviation industry.

emaratech, a leading technology and consulting company in the Arab world, is the official host sponsor for the conference. The conference is being supported by Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), a leading UAE bank, and DP World, who are the platinum sponsors and by Key Information Technology, the largest Dell Pro support partner in the UAE, the Silver Sponsor. LRS identity and Microsoft Gulf are also supporting ‘The Future of Borders 2015’ as the sponsors. Emirates Airline is the official carrier for the conference. Zajel is the official logistics partner and Ritz Carlton is the Strategic Hospitality Sponsor. Marhaba which offers a range of meet and greet services is among the official sponsors for the conference.

Arabian Aerospace and Dubai Media are media partners for the event. More than 500 delegates are expected to attend the conference, including a large number of Interior ministers, heads of border control authorities, airlines CEOs, airports operators and representatives of international organizations such as the International Air Transport.