Lithuanian airports have completed all preparations for the EU’s new Entry/Exit System (EES), making them some of the first airports in the European Union to be ready for the new security system. Although the exact date the EES will go into effect is not yet known, Lithuania has announced that the EES infrastructure has been set up at its airports, while the majority of other European airports are still in the process of implementing automated screening systems as part of the EES.
According to Vidas Kšanas, Director of the Safety and Security Department of Lithuanian Airports, the airports have been made more convenient for passengers to pass border checks, as self-service terminals and information screens have been set up in each of them. Kšanas added that the Lithuanian authorities have carefully planned the new areas where additional checks will be carried out, and have also modelled the processes for management of passenger flow and passenger convenience.
Once the screening starts, third-country citizens will not only receive detailed information on the procedures to be followed but will also have the opportunity to perform most of the services completely independently in the self-service terminals, according to Kšanas. The EES is a new security system for travellers created by the EU to keep track of who enters and leaves the Member States. The system will register everyone who enters and exits the territory of the EU, including airports and land borders.
The system will collect and verify biometric and personal data, including fingerprints and facial images, of third-country travellers entering the EU for the first time after the start of the implementation of the EES. The EES was initially set to become effective in May 2023, but due to the unreadiness of some third parties, the EU’s agency responsible for the system’s management, the eu-LISA, has postponed it until the end of the year.
For the EES system to function, the Member States require infrastructure and space at border crossing points, which can be expensive. Lithuania has spent €3 million, not including VAT, to prepare for the EES at its three airports, the Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports. Lithuanian Airports worked closely with specialists of the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) for the implementation of the EES, and SBGS will be in charge of managing the system, and its specialists will be responsible for carrying out inspections.
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