New Zealand among new countries allowed to use ePassport SmartGate in UK

It'll be very welcome news for those familiar with the 'chaos' of Heathrow.
It'll be very welcome news for those familiar with the 'chaos' of Heathrow. Photo credit: Getty Images

New Zealand is among five countries whose passport-holders will soon be able to use SmartGates at UK airports, the UK government has announced.

The news will come as an early Christmas present to frequent travellers who can spend over two hours waiting in Heathrow Airport's border security hall.

New Zealand's inclusion on the new list of countries given access to the ePassport gates comes thanks to our involvement in the controversial Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance along with the UK, Canada, Australia and the US.

Earlier this year, Newshub London correspondent Lloyd Burr wrote an opinion piece entitled 'Welcome to Heathrow, welcome to chaos', which documented the frustratingly slow journey through the London airport's security and immigration areas.

The UK Border Force authority hit its target of processing 95 percent of non-EU passengers within 45 minutes just once in July, according to data released by Virgin Atlantic. Passengers sometimes had to wait for over two-and-a-half hours to be processed.

Heathrow Airport is pushing for the change to take place before March 2019, when Britain leaves the EU.