SmartGates and security screening technology could soon be combined to create a ‘one stop shop’ for departing international passengers under a radical new plan by the New Zealand Government.
Representing a massive overhaul of the current process – whereby travellers first queue to complete security and again wait in line at passport control (or vice versa) – the new design joins both functions into a single interaction.
You’d ideally enter the system by inserting your passport into an electronic reader, much as you would at today’s departure SmartGates.
Then, your identity would be verified electronically while your body is being scanned for prohibited items – either by metal detector or body scanner – before emerging on the other side having completed both security and passport control in the one hit.
(Your cabin baggage would still need to be X-rayed while you walk through, however.)
Queueing time vs. border security concerns
Hoped to eventually make its debut at Auckland International Airport, the system would streamline the overall time spent processing each passenger – reducing queueing bottlenecks that cut into business travellers’ lounge time.
“It’s a rough figure, but from a Customs perspective we’re only interested in ‘interacting’ with around 2% of travellers, not the 98% who enter the country with nothing to hide,” NZ Customs Service’s Group Manager Border Operations, Anne Marie Taggart, explains.
Speaking at the CAPA Australia Pacific Summit 2016, Taggart elaborates that as with the current systems, “by using technology we can identify the people we’re interested in for manual processing (before they present themselves at the border), and everyone else can move through quickly.”
“It’s a very real concept and it’s being tested currently,” she continues, but without any hints as to when travellers will have their first glimpse of this all-new system.
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