Saudi swipe cards aim to end airport queues

New id card system introduced in kingdom, more airports to go online soon.

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By  Andy Sambidge Published  November 14, 2008

A new high-tech system has been launched at an airport in Saudi Arabia aimed at speeding up the time it takes to clear passport control.

Saudi men leaving and entering the country via King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh can now use swipe cards instead of having to queue up.

The system, which was launched on Wednesday, will be introduced for Saudi women and expatriate travellers at a later stage, Arab News reported on Friday.

Major General Salim Al-Belaihed, director general of the passport department said the service would be made available at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah shortly, with other airports going online at a later date.

The swipe card carries an individual’s fingerprint and retinal scans as well as his photo and relevant information.

“We have introduced this service as part of the department’s efforts to make use of modern technology to provide suitable solutions and facilitate immigration procedures,” the passport chief said.

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