Nine new ABC SmartGates have been installed at Auckland International Airport for departing passengers.
The new ABC eGates are the first of their kind in New Zealand, with the next generation technology performing both passport and emigration checks at the egate.
The new egates incorporate the passport scanner into the gate.
Currently passengers go to an egate to have their passport scanned, eliminating the need for the current two-step process.
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.
How it works
The intergrated single-step process means all the necessary checks are carried out at the gate.
Passengers put their ePassport into the reader with the photo face-down
The entry gate opens and the passenger takes their passport and walks into the egate
The passenger looks directly at the camera while it matches the passenger to their ePassport photo
If all is OK, the exit gate will open
This is an improvement from the previous two-step process in which passengers went to a kiosk that scanned the passport to see if they were eligible to use the kiosk. If so the kiosk issued a paper ticket and the passenger used that to access the actual egate that carried out the proper checks.
The two-step process is still in use for arriving passengers.
Customs Minister Nicky Wagner, said:
“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.
“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.”
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.
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.
The new gates ensure legitimate passengers can enjoy faster border processing and officers can focus more on the high-risk passengers.
Expansions for Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown Airports are planned over the next 12-18 months.
N.B. Image credit: beehive.govt.nz