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Official launch Zurich Airport introduces automatic passport controls

A picture of the automated passport control

The renovation of the passport control hall and the scanning machines cost CHF8 million ($8.1 million).


Just in the time for the summer holidays, the new passport control hall at Zurich Airport has opened its doors. After a successful test phase using eight automatic passport control kiosks, five more have been added. A further six counters will be operated by a border guard.

The airport operator had decided to renovate because the increasing number of passengers meant the passport control hall was frequently stretched to its maximum capacity at peak travel times. The work was carried out in cooperation with the Zurich cantonal police, who are responsible for border control at the airport.

+ Read more about Zurich airport’s pilot face recognition systemexternal link

The pilot phase, which started last autumn, was successful and customers’ experiences and feedback had been positive, said the airport operations management and the cantonal police on Thursday. The goal is to make travelling more efficient for travellers, they said.

Passengers over 18 who are holders of biometric passports and either Swiss, European Union or European Economic Area citizenship will be free to use the scanners rather than present their passports to the usual border control officers.

No personal data will be stored and use of the machines is voluntary – passengers are still able to use the operated border control counters without restrictions.

The renovation of the passport control hall and the scanning machines cost CHF8 million ($8.1 million). Costs were jointly covered by the airport operator, the cantonal authorities and the European Internal Security Fundexternal link.


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