This Airport, Voted the Best in the World, Is Going Passport Free — Here's What That Means for Travelers
20.09.2023 - 19:37
Travelers to Singapore’s Changi Airport soon won’t need to show their passports to leave the country as the popular airport looks to implement biometrics throughout the immigration and boarding process.
The airport, which is consistently one of the best in the world, will look to speed up the airport process by introducing end-to-end biometrics for everything from immigration to bag drop and boarding, according to a speech by Communications Minister Josephine Teo. The changes would be implemented by the first half of 2024 “to enhance the traveller experience at Changi Airport.”
“Biometrics will be used to create a single token of authentication that will be employed at various automated touchpoints, from bag-drop to immigration and boarding,” Teo said. “This will reduce the need for passengers to repeatedly present their travel documents at these touchpoints, allowing for more seamless and convenient processing.”
The changes would add to biometric technology that is already used at the airport. Currently, Changi employs biometrics and facial recognition software to an extent at automated lanes at immigration, CNN reported.
Of course, travelers should still have their passports on them since some people may need to show it.
More than 5,100 travelers passed through Changi Airport in August, marking a significant increase from 2022 when just about 3,300 passengers traveled there during the same time period, according to the airport’s data. It’s also just under 2019 levels when 5,900 passengers passed through the airport in the same month.
The airport is known for its size and amenities, which include the world's tallest indoor waterfall, a terraced tropical garden, a butterfly garden, a movie theater, and more. The airport also features a rock climbing wall where travelers can get their hearts pumping while waiting for a flight.
Changi also offers ways to escape the airport with free guided city tours for travelers with a layover of at least five and a half hours.
Singapore isn’t the only country turning to biometrics for immigration procedures. The European Union is working to implement a new Entry/Exit System (EES) to replace passport stamping with the collection of biometric data like face scans and fingerprint scans.