New SmartGate aims to decrease airport queues

New SmartGate aims to decrease airport queues

International travellers can look forward to a reduced wait at customs when 29 new SmartGates are rolled out over the next two years.

More than $6 million from the Future Investment Fund will go towards modernising SmartGate technology to manage an expected 2.3 million increase in travellers by 2019.

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner says the new machines incorporate the passport scanner into the gate, eliminating the kiosk and ticket system currently used.

"As it is now you have to queue twice, once at the kiosk to get your ticket, take your ticket come over here and put it through. I think it will cut it [the wait] by half at least.

"This is the new SmartGate on steroids."

Nine new SmartGates will be installed this year and the remaining 20 installed over the next two years in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch adding to the 22 existing machines.

The World Economic Forum ranks New Zealand sixth in the world for efficiency of the border, Ms Wagner says.

"Amazing considering how strong our biosecurity presence is," she says.

By the end of 2015, all Australia and New Zealand passports will be e-passports and the machines can also process US, UK and Canada e-passports with plans to add more countries in the long term.

Last year, 10.4 million air passengers crossed New Zealand's border and 96.4 percent were processed within 45 minutes, well above the global International Civil Aviation Organization standard of 90 per cent.

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