Dubai: Dubai regained the traveller’s trust during COVID-19 as the most dreadful part of air travel is undoubtedly getting through security, a senior official told Gulf News.
Major General Pilot Ahmed Mohammed Bin Thani, Assistant to the Commander-in-Chief for Ports Affairs, said the outbreak of the pandemic forced the airport security across the world to change their security methods and train their cadres on securing the airport despite the precautionary measures to curb COVID-19.
The Dubai Civil Aviation Security Centre at Airport Security Department at Dubai Police has trained more than 4,080 policemen through 26 online and on-site workshops to raise their security level and protect themselves while they are on duty. “Airports were key points to transmit COVID-19. It considers a high risk spots. We wanted to make sure that security level remains similar to before the pandemic by training security members on protecting themselves while checking passengers,” Maj Gen bin Thani told Gulf News in an exclusive interview.
He said that all police members at the airports were provided with protective gear and trained on keeping social distancing, using the sanitisers and how to deal with infected travellers. “With implementing precautionary measures at Dubai Airports and other elements, Dubai regained the traveller’s trust. Airport security in Dubai is a role model on how to operate airports safely during a pandemic.”
Major General Pilot Ahmed Mohammed Bin Thani
From checking travellers at transit area to search the luggage and metal detector gates, Maj Gen Bin Thani said that using latest technologies and artificial intelligence methods helped to reduce the contact between policemen and travellers. “Dubai Police use highly developed inspection devices and AI technology like face recognition cameras inside the airport to guarantee a high level of security and less direct contact with travellers,” Maj Gen Bin Thani added.
He said that all policemen at Dubai Airports Security Department were COVID-19 free due to the training and using protective methods.
Police help stranded travellers
As lockdowns and border closures triggered by COVID-19 hurt international travel, Dubai Police helped many transit passengers during the crisis. “With millions of transit travellers, some of them were in Dubai when their flights to their destination were cancelled and they stayed for some time at the airport. We worked with concerned authorities to help those passengers by support them with food and shelter,” Maj Gen Bin Thani said, adding that Dubai Police even bought tickets for them and helped to put them in repatriation flights to their destination.
As passengers travel through Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s largest travel hubs, dropped in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Maj Gen Bin Thani expects the number will increase in 2021 and reach the same number of passengers in 2019 when around 87 million travellers passed through Dubai Airports.
Civil Aviation Security Centre
The training Centre, accredited by the International Civil Aviation Organization “ICAO”, organises specialised courses in airport security sector for participants from all around the world. The centre gives accreditation to the participant verified from ICAO after finishing the workshops. It is the biggest training centre in the region and part of 34 training centers across the world.
Maj Gen Bin Thani said the training centre organised workshops for 2,632 inspectors from different government departments during COVID-19’s era. “Besides the usual workshops and training, the centre created sessions about COVID-19 protocol at airports and how the inspector protects themselves from the virus and to seal the security gaps during the pandemic,” Maj Gen Bin Thani added.