Nine new SmartGates have been installed at Auckland International Airport for departing passengers in the lead up to the peak travel season this summer.
“As part of Budget 2015, the Government is investing $6.6 million to more than double the number of SmartGates, with 29 new gates being installed over the next 12-18 months,” explains Customs Minister Nicky Wagner.
SmartGates have been in New Zealand for six years, with four gates installed at Auckland Airport’s arrivals area in 2009.
Almost 15 million passengers have used SmartGate in this time.
“The first nine new gates are now up and running at Auckland Airport in time for Christmas. As 75% of international travellers pass through Auckland Airport, it made sense to introduce them here in time for the busy season,” she says.
Wagner says the new SmartGates are first of their kind in New Zealand, with the next generation technology performing passport and emigration checks at the gate, making it quicker and easier for passengers.
“The new technology incorporates the passport scanner into the gate, eliminating the need for the kiosk and ticket,” she explains. “Departing passengers scan their passport and step up to the biometric scanner, which is faster and more efficient than the current two-step process,” Wagner says.
Wagner says having nine new gates more than doubles Customs’ capacity for departing passengers. “The four previous SmartGates are being put to good use too – they have been relocated, so arriving passengers also have more gates from next week,” she says.
“The expansion and modernisation of SmartGate will help manage the increasing numbers of travellers, which is expected to grow by 2.3 million to about 13.3 million by 2019,” Wagner adds. “The new gates ensure legitimate travellers can enjoy faster border processing and officers can focus more on the high-risk travellers.”
Expansions for Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown Airports are planned over the next 12-18 months.