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Perth Airport planning Australia’s first Common Departure Lounge

15 December, 2020

Perth Airport is planning for Australia’s first Common Departure Lounge for domestic and international travellers, with biometric facial recognition technology as a central security feature.

Perth Airport CEO Kevin Brown says the Common Departure Lounge will help deliver the long-held ambition to co-locate all flight services within the Airport Central Precinct.

“Common Departure Lounges allow departing domestic and international passengers to comingle in the one area,” Mr Brown said.

“As the lounge will only have departing passengers, quarantine requirements are not an issue.

“A number of overseas airports already use Common Departure Lounges, the most notable of which is Heathrow Airport where the process has been in place for more than a decade.”

“The use of biometrics will be a key component of future border security and will significantly raise the level of assurance surrounding the identification of passengers to and from Australia.

“A Common Departure Lounge at Perth Airport would provide a smaller, more economic overall terminal footprint and an improved security environment through the introduction of biometrics.

“For our airline partners looking to recover from the Covid downturn, it represents lower costs and greater operational efficiencies.

“For passengers, the use of biometrics will greatly reduce the need for human contact points in terminals and create a far more intuitive and seamless journey.

“For government, it represents improved border security and the opportunity to use Perth Airport as the test case and proving ground for future Common Departure Lounges at other major Australian airports.”

Mr Brown said Perth Airport was looking to accelerate its planning work on the Common Departure Lounge concept.

“A key priority will be to place a strong focus on ensuring privacy issues around the capture and use of data are addressed with rigorous and appropriate measures,” Mr Brown said.

“Biometrics have been used in Common Departure Lounges in major airports around the world without compromising privacy.

“We’ll also be working to show the community and the travelling public that the concept will deliver an enhanced border security environment.

“We appreciate the assistance and guidance we have received to date from the Federal Government and its officials but we understand there is still a lot of work to be done.

“We believe such a lounge can operate under the existing regulatory framework but we’ll be working collaboratively with the Federal Government to make sure we tick all the boxes on delivering the appropriate levels of border integrity and passenger privacy protections.”

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