The future of airports: one-stop security, passport control?

By Chris C., August 4 2016
The future of airports: one-stop security, passport control?

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.

The system would have a similar feel to today's existing SmartGate systems...
The system would have a similar feel to today's existing SmartGate systems...

(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.

Also read: NZ plans trial of ‘trusted traveller’ fast-track program

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

IF this comes to pass, why does it need to be done at both ends.  Why dont both countires share the cost and the outcomes of the scrutiny?  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 504

Unfortinately I don't see this happening outside of Oceania with what's happening in US and Europe.


16 Nov 2014

Total posts 15

given that my $250 2015 issue "smart" Aussie passport does not recognise me 5 times out of 5 (that's 100% failure rate) when trying to leave the country, I am not hopeful of this working! So manual check each time along with about 10 other people last time. No problem coming back in (assume the tech is different). Next time I think I might use my NZ passport (which you are not "supposed" to do if you have Aust ppt) to see if there is a better result (and that was renewed on line with a selfie slightly resized photo on it but still works in NZ coming in).

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1027

I'd rather queue twice then go through a body scanner.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Aug 2013

Total posts 138

As always, New Zealand is totally ahead of the curve compared to Australia (I was born in Australia). They invented EFTPoS, now this. Agree also with @readosunnycoast - why don't both countries deploy & share?

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