Canadian Security Magazine

Uruguay airport installs automated border control

By Canadian Security   

News Transportation airport security biometrics border security

The largest airport in Uruguay has just inaugurated an innovative integrated border control solution. Easy Airport is the program that is offering passengers at Montevideo’s Carrasco International Airport self-service automated border control, reinforced by the simultaneous modernization of assisted procedures. Vision-Box is one of the designated partners to meet the goal of the overarching SISCA – Integrated Airport Security and Control System – of boosting security, whilst revolutionizing the passenger experience.

Carrasco International Airport is the first entry/exit point of the country to implement automated border control.

Puerta del Sur S.A. (concessionary of the Carrasco International Airport), and the National Direction of Migration of Uruguay have been developing a significant transformation of their border control procedures, in the scope of SISCA, a comprehensive program that analyzes, develops and makes use of the best technologies and procedures to control and secure airport facilities, verify travelers and cargo, as well as facilitate passengers along their airport journey.

Travel document readers and finger print scanners were introduced in 2014 into manual document control procedures for arriving and departing travelers. In late August, a very significant milestone was reached for SISCA and for Puerta del Sur: the inauguration of the state-of-the-art integrated border control solution.

Integrating both automated and manual border control, the solution was designed and implemented by Vision-Box.

Automated border control and the “Easy Airport”
Carrasco International Airport is the first entry/exit point of the country to implement automated border control. This is a breakthrough in the reliability of security checks and in the optimization of operations, but also in passenger experience, offering an agile, quick, convenient border crossing process. Hence, the campaign name Easy Airport.


A robust bank of Vision-Box vb i-match eGates is operational at Arrivals, offering a full self-service experience and ensuring passport authentication, background checks and biometric passenger verification.

The system compares the facial image stored in the chip of the passengers’ passport against the live captured image, all according to the highest quality and security international standards, making sure that the traveler has a valid document and is the genuine owner of the document. After this first step is successfully accomplished, the traveler will be asked to select his/her flight through a user-friendly display available at the eGate.

According to Eng. Ricardo Cerri, CTO at Puerta del Sur, “The new procedure will have a huge impact in streamlining passenger journey at the airport, especially with the reduction of waiting times. We are expecting a reduction of transaction times per person in migratory procedures to drop around 65 per cent, which is a direct benefit to the users of Easy Airport, but also for the users of manual booths, which will also be relieved from congestion. We are very happy to be able to offer our travelers more convenience, agility and efficiency while contributing in securing the border control in Uruguay.”

In reference to the new automated eGates, the Minister of Interior, Eduardo Bonomi, commented that “(the eGates) give the country safety and swiftness. Safety because passengers cannot skip the identification process bearing their Uruguayan ID or passport, which compares immediately and accurately against unforgeable data. And swiftness because now a process that usually takes longer, with this solution is quite faster.”

Easy Airport is available for all international flights. Eligible travelers are all Uruguayan citizens with electronic documents (passport or identity card with chip) older than 18 years; in the future, Argentine travelers are expected to be able to use the eGates.

Optimized manned border control
Manned control booths were also modernized, with new touchpoints to optimize processes: vb AIC desktops (automated immigration control) are being used to assist border guards in identifying passengers. The traveler simply presents his face and fingerprints to the desktop, to be respectively matched with the travel document and the immigration backend system in order to be correctly identified.

Vision-Box implemented a state-of-the-art border control solution capable of addressing the challenge of improving security and operational efficiencies on the whole, while simultaneously putting in place quick, convenient traveler identification procedures at the airport. Both ABC eGates and vb AIC desktops are integrated into a robust software suite for real-time management of the whole security infrastructure as well as interface with watch lists such as Interpol.

This platform is ready to support the current and future stages of SISCA. While the basis for privacy-responsible data exchange between all travel stakeholders, a cornerstone for SISCA, has already been assured, this future-proof platform is ready to serve forthcoming expansion goals of the airport: it is expected that an end-to-end passenger flow system based on a single biometric token will be implemented covering most of the passenger identification touch-points – such as security checkpoints and self-boarding gates.

The introduction of this integrated border management solution, together with the implementation of SISCA, opens way to a range of international collaborative border control initiatives, tighter security and enhanced efficiencies. The program allows for the capture, reception and sharing of information on travelers with border control authorities even outside Uruguay.

This includes traveler identity, booking details, payment method, rented vehicles, baggage taken to the seat on the plane: every detailed information allows for a beforehand analysis by the Uruguayan authorities on expected passengers’ profile, risk assessment, verifications against watch lists, predictive analysis, the anticipation of threats at the border, and the intelligent management of resources according to needs.

In additional, the planned introduction of biometrics into an advance passenger information set of data, and its combination with the biographic capabilities, will allow for authorities to establish, up-front, the risk-based assessment of travelers, acting on it early in the process, focusing on persons of interest and providing better border services including streamlining their ground operation and creating more hassle-free experiences.

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