Riga International Airport has introduced and unveiled their Automated Border Control system, also known as ABC Gates, as part of their border control and customs enforcement in the airport.
There are currently 8 ABC Gates operating in Riga International Airport, which are operating for arrivals and departures to/from Latvia and non-Schengen countries.
All persons coming from other EU, EEA, Swiss Confederation, or Schengen Member States are now able to use these gates when arriving to Riga using their biometric passport, given that they are over the age of 18.
Anyone coming from any of the aforementioned blocs or agreement zones not traveling with a passport will not be able to use the ABC Gates and will need to cross the border traditionally.
These new ABC Gates have come about in the hope that they can help to speed up processing times and simplify procedures when crossing borders.
“Fast and convenient border crossing is very important for Riga Airport, considering our strategic goal to become a Northern European air traffic hub,” said Laila Odiņa, Chairperson of the Board of Riga Airport.
According to Odiņa, the COVID-19 pandemic has also created a new need for automated systems in Riga International Airport, in addition to further underscoring existing needs for the systems.
“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,” Odiņa said.
Riga International Airport and the Latvian State Border Guard officially began working on the ABC Gate project in 2014, as part of the Internal Security Fund for 2014-2020, which had a budget of €1,862,587.
As of writing this article, no major issues have yet been discovered with the ABC Gates, and they appear to be a very useful tool in processing border crossings and assisting with border control.