Velana International Airport (VIA) has unveiled a state-of-the-art Smart Gate system aimed at making the customs clearance process easier and faster. The system, introduced by Maldives Airports Company Ltd. (MACL), the operator of VIA, and Maldives Customs Services (MCS), was officially commissioned at VIA on Wednesday by Ibrahim Shareef Mohamed, the CEO and Managing Director of MACL, and Yoosuf Maniu Mohamed, the Commissioner General of Customs.

MACL and MCS say the system will enhance efficiency, security, and risk management in Customs clearance. With the Smart Gate system, MCS has adopted Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to identify luggage that require additional screening, replacing the old system of using red stickers. Passengers whose luggage bears RFID tags must utilise the Red Channel for luggage screening, according to MACL. Non-compliance will result in the system flagging these passengers. On the other hand, passengers cleared for the Green Channel will benefit from a more efficient and expedited exit post customs clearance.

At the launch event, Ibrahim Shareef Mohamed, the CEO and Managing Director of MACL, underscored the importance of the Smart Gate system, established by MCS, in enhancing the airport’s service offerings to passengers and accelerating service delivery. He also hinted at introducing additional services upon completion of the new passenger terminal.

“In a concerted effort with stakeholders and enforcement agencies, we are steadfast in our commitment to enhancing our service offerings to passengers. The deployment of the Smart Gate system signifies a pivotal advancement in this pursuit. This service is designed to streamline passenger services and alleviate many challenges they encounter,” stated Mohamed.

MACL has also highlighted the role of the Smart Gate system in assisting authorities in their efforts to combat terrorism, money laundering, and the import of prohibited items.

Given the Maldives’ status as a premier tourism destination and the increasing influx of tourists each year, the smooth functioning and efficient service delivery at VIA, the nation’s main airport, is paramount to the economy. MACL anticipates that the Smart Gate system will alleviate congestion at the airport during peak hours, thereby enhancing the overall passenger experience.