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SmartGate Passenger Clearance System a Success

( SmartGate, the automated passenger clearance system at Auckland and Wellington International Airports, will process its 250,000th passenger today.

Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says this milestone highlights the incredible success the SmartGate system has been since it was launched just over seven months ago.

The SmartGate system has now been installed for trans-Tasman passengers arriving at Auckland and Wellington International Airports. It is expected to begin operating at Christchurch Airport for arrivals processing and at Auckland Airport for departures processing by the end of this year.

“New Zealanders have rapidly taken to this new technology with around 50 per cent of eligible passport holders now regularly using SmartGate,” Mr Williamson says.

This uptake compares favourably with Australia which took four years to achieve a similar level of uptake to what New Zealand achieved in its first four months of operation.

“In the first month of operation at Wellington Airport since it was officially launched on 15 June, almost 6,000 passengers have used SmartGate to clear passport control,” he says.

“Anecdotally, Customs officers are saying that many passengers who currently don’t have ePassports are considering upgrading their passports now instead of when they expire so they can take advantage of the quick processing times through SmartGate.”

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.

“This system has made the arrivals process much quicker and easier for passengers with an average processing time through the gates of 22 seconds,” Mr Williamson says.

“It’s incredibly easy to use and has proved popular with all ages. In a typical week at Auckland Airport, around 1300 passengers aged 60 years and over successfully use SmartGate.”

Media Release 14 July 2010 from Hon Maurice Williamson, Minister of Customs.



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