Wednesday, January 25, 2012

E-Passport Gates Speed Things Up at Soekarno-Hatta Airport

Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport debuted on Wednesday the country’s first automatic immigration gate for Indonesians possessing electronic passports to use when leaving and arriving in the country.

The new automated system allows electronic passport holders to bypass what is often a long line at the immigration counter.

The system, which currently includes two gates for international departures and eight for international arrivals, was opened at the international terminal by Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin.

“This is a step forward,” he said. “With these auto gates, I think Soekarno-Hatta has made itself an international airport with sophisticated facilities.”

The automated immigration gates are designed to expedite the immigration process through increased speed and efficiency.

Maryoto Sumadi, a spokesman for the immigration office, said that if necessary the gates could be operated manually by airport personnel.

The new automated system is linked to the immigration information management system at the immigration office, according to Maryoto.

There are 12,000 people who own electronic Indonesian passports, which are also known as biometric passports. The government has been issuing them since Jan. 26, 2011.

To use the system, electronic passport holders must carry a valid boarding pass with a barcode that follows the standard set by the International Air Transportation Association. Users must also stand between 1.2 meters and 2.2 meters tall.

The gate scans the passport and the barcode on the boarding pass, verifies the fingerprint and takes a picture of the passenger, all in less than three minutes.

Scanning the passport happens first, with the passport open to the page with the person’s photograph. Then comes the scanning of the barcode on the boarding pass.

After that, the passenger presses their required finger onto a screen for scanning. Finally, they must face a screen to get their snapshot taken. No dark glasses or veils that cover the face are allowed.

The passenger can then pass through the gate, which will not close before the person and their luggage make it through.

Maryoto said he expected similar systems would soon be installed at other international airports in Indonesia.

“We hope that the operation of these automated immigration gates will be able to enhance services for those who are leaving or arriving through the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport,” he said.

The high-priority airports for future installations, Maryoto said, are Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Juanda International Airport in Surabaya and Hang Nadim Airport on the island of Batam, just south of Singapore.

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