New Zealand’s Auckland Airport will upgrade its international passenger terminal arrivals area to improve the country’s border protection.
The construction will introduce improved biosecurity screening technology, baggage reclaim facilities and other improvements to make the final stages of border processing formalities more efficient.
The first stage of the expanded border processing area is expected to be ready by late 2024. Airport operations will continue through the construction, although there will be changes for passengers in biosecurity screening and customs search area layout throughout the staged project. While hoardings will protect staff and travelers from construction dust and noise, the border processing and screening areas will be operating within a reduced space during the project.
Mike Inglis, the northern regional commissioner for security company Biosecurity New Zealand, said, “The new arrivals area will support the introduction of new technology and clearance process changes that will enhance both biosecurity and the travel experience for passengers. We’re looking to automate some existing processes and make use of advancements in 3D scanning to provide greater biosecurity protection for New Zealand. We are already making good progress in developing algorithms that will allow the new screening tools to automatically detect biosecurity threats in baggage carried by travelers.”
Anna Cassels-Brown, general manager of operations at Auckland Airport, said, “Improvements to both front-of-house and back-of-house facilities for Biosecurity New Zealand and the New Zealand Customs Service were aimed at further strengthening the border to protect New Zealand’s natural environment while providing improved working facilities for border protection officers. With passenger volumes still growing back to the levels recorded before Covid-19, it is a good opportunity to make improvements.
“New Zealand’s economic and environmental wellbeing is very much dependent on ensuring robust border protections both in terms of biosecurity and compliance with rules and regulations for entering our country,” she continued. “As travelers, we all play a part in this, but Auckland Airport is committed to ensuring Biosecurity New Zealand and New Zealand Customs can operate as effectively as possible within our international terminal.”
Fiona Proudfoot, acting group manager of border operations at New Zealand Customs Service, said, “As the protectors of New Zealand’s borders, Customs is working closely with Auckland Airport to meet our commitment as kaitiaki [Maori for guardian] as well as improve the traveler experience at our biggest international gateway. These improved facilities will provide a better experience for passengers while allowing us to continue our critical role in keeping our communities safe.”