Border crossing has become faster and more convenient since the Automated Border Control system or ABC Gates of the State Border Guard has been put into operation at Riga Airport.
The system allows travellers to cross the border by scanning a travel document – biometric passport – at the ABC gates. The automated system compares the traveller's biometric data with the information in the passport and, if everything is fine, the passenger can cross the border.
When using the ABC Gates, the average throughput time per passenger is 17 – 20 seconds, which allows to serve up to 180 passengers per hour through one gate. Moreover, one border guard can monitor four ABC gates simultaneously. In turn, when performing border checks manually through a border guard cabin, the throughput capacity is more than twice as low, namely, 60 – 70 passengers per hour.
“Fast and convenient border crossing is very important for Riga Airport, considering our strategic goal to become a Northern European air traffic hub. Before the crisis caused by the global pandemic, the number of transit passengers at Riga Airport accounted for about 30% of the total number of passengers, and a large part of them travelled through Riga to and from countries outside the Schengen Area. Riga Airport is famous for its short connections between flights, so the speed of all passenger service processes is especially important,” says Laila Odiņa, Chairperson of the Board of Riga Airport.
A total of eight ABC Gates have been set up at Riga Airport at all border crossing points; they are intended for passengers arriving and departing from Latvia to countries outside the Schengen Area, as well as for transit passengers. Four ABC gates are located in the arrivals area of sector C on the first level, two in the transfer area of sector C on the first level and two in the departures area of sector C on the second level.
Citizens of Member States of the European Union, countries of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation who have reached the age of 18 and use biometric passports as their travel document may cross the border through the ABC Gates. Travellers who use ID card, cannot use the ABC Gates and the border must be crossed in the traditional way.
The project "Installation of ABC Gates at Riga International Airport” has been implemented by the State Border Guard with the support of Riga Airport within the framework of the Internal Security Fund for 2014 – 2020. The total funding of the project is 1 862 587 euros.
Riga Airport is a fast-growing Northern European air traffic hub. Riga Airport served more than 7.8 million passengers in 2019. The Cirium study recognized Riga Airport as the fourth most punctual airport in the world in 2019.