Major change for domestic flyers at Queenstown Airport

by Kim Bowden - Jul 09, 2024

The requirement for travellers to take laptops out of carry-on bags when passing through security checks at Queenstown Airport looks set to be a thing of the past - for domestic flights at least.

However the airport expects processes will soon follow suit for all international travel too, as new and improved scanners are progressively rolled out at airport security lines around the country.

From Tuesday morning, all passengers on all domestic flights from Queenstown are being screened through security lines using computed tomography x-ray machines, following a trial on a limited number of flights.

The new machines work like CT scanners in hospitals to generate 3D images of passengers' bags in real-time.

And they mean there is no need for anyone to physically remove items including electronics - such as laptops, cell phones, and iPads - liquids, powders, and gels from bags.

But a tip for first-timers, take out any old-school unprocessed camera film from cabin bags as it won't go through the new machines unscathed. Instead, this can be packed in checked luggage or handed to security screening staff to inspect visually, the airport says.

The security screening lanes at the airport are run by the Aviation Security Service.

Aviation Security’s Queenstown station manager Barry Taylor says he is happy the trial of the machines' capabilities with domestic travellers through the airport has gone smoothly, allowing him to make the set-up a more permanent one.

"There's been various steps we've had to go through to get it to the stage that it is now, but I'm really pleased, from our perspective, and with the assistance of QAC (Queenstown Airport Corporation) and other partners, that passenger experience will be enhanced and fast moving."

He says for now the new technology continues to be tested on the last two international flights of the day from Queenstown, where the flights are only 20 minutes apart.

Other security screening measures remain unchanged, including requirements for passengers to remove bulky jackets, boots, and belts.

It is the latest in a string of ongoing upgrades at Queenstown Airport, which include a new cafe and bar opening onto the forecourt at the airport's entrance.

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