Australian airports roll out digital boarding passes

Australia's airports

Australia’s airports are utilizing technology to cut passenger time spent in queues. Source: Shutterstock

AIRPORTS and long queues have gone hand-in-hand since the dawn of commercial aviation. 

And now, with more people than ever traveling internationally, airports can be a dreaded place for many.

But Australian airports are hoping to change this traveling experience by allowing outbound passengers who are flying internationally to check-in for their flights using a mobile phone.

This means passengers will no longer have to queue up at airport desks to get a paper boarding pass.

Starting this week, airlines operating in Australia will be able to issue electronic boarding passes directly to passengers.

“Australia is a world leader in seamless travel, and this move will allow travelers to move across our border smoothly,” Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge said in a statement.

In 2016, nearly 1.5 billion people traveled internationally. This is almost a billion more people than a decade earlier in 1996.

Of these travelers, more than 21 million of them passed through a border at one of Australia’s international airports.

“These increasing volumes mean we are always looking for ways to clear legitimate travelers efficiently and seek out those of interest to law enforcement,” added Tudge.

The implementation of this new check-in system follows several successful trials of mobile boarding passes for international flights in multiple Australian airports.

International outbound passengers at Australia’s airports will also have experienced the automatic SmartGates which are another technology used to improve the flow of passengers.

In fact, SmartGates are a common sight in airports across the world and Acuity Market Intelligence predicts the market for e-Gates and kiosks will exceed US$752 million this year.

Source: Shutterstock

A Qantas spokesperson told, “Using digital boarding passes has already been popular with our customers who have used their mobile devices to help make their travel experience more seamless.”

Qantas began offering passengers the option of digital boarding passes 12 months ago on routes between Australia and New Zealand.

The airline is now expected to extend this mobile access to other international destinations, including the US, as soon as October.

Qantas is Australia’s national flag carrier. Source: Shutterstock

But Australia isn’t done with its utilization of technology just yet.

Last week, the Queensland government approved a grant of US$6.1 million from the Queensland Ignite Ideas funding which supports local businesses.

One of these is a cryptocurrency startup called TravelbyBit.

The startup aims to open Australia to a digital currency tourism by offering a multi-cryptocurrency platform where users can purchase commodities such as flights.

One of TravelbyBit’s first partnerships is with Brisbane Airport Corporation, which also offers electronic boarding passes. The startup has high hopes of making it the “world’s first digital currently friendly airport.”

With all this new technology on the horizon, travelers in Australia could soon find themselves not needing to show their passports or travel with cash in their wallets.