50,000 Passengers Through Smartgate   5 Feb 2010

TRAVEL - The 50,000th passenger has been processed through the SmartGate automated passenger processing facility at Auckland Airport, just two months after Prime Minister John Key launched the new system early in December last year.

Minister of Customs, Maurice Williamson, said it was a milestone that highlighted the success of the SmartGate system.

"Right now about 32% of New Zealanders coming into Auckland Airport who are eligible to use SmartGate are doing so," he said.

"This matches the experience that our Australian colleagues have had as they introduced the new system there. As more and more travellers are introduced to it we expect that percentage to trend upwards

"The technology has streamlined the passenger clearance process and we have improved our border processing through the application of an internationally- proven, cutting-edge technology solution.

“It has reduced the amount of queuing throughout the arrivals processes, and gives visitors a more positive first impression of New Zealand as a travel destination” he said.

SmartGate uses face recognition biometric technology and the information stored in the microchip inside ePassports to perform the identity check that is usually conducted by a Customs officer.

“New Zealanders using the SmartGate system have seen their travelling experience greatly enhanced, particularly those travelling trans-Tasman. They appreciate the quick and efficient process that means they don't have to queue," said the Minister.

The system is already operating at most international airports in Australia for arriving New Zealand and Australian ePassport holders and will be rolled out to Wellington and Christchurch Airports this year. Further kiosks and gates are also planned for departure processing.

The implementation of SmartGate has been managed by Customs with the involvement of other border agencies.

New Zealand Government


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