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Brisbane Airport trials digital departure cards

written by WOFA | March 25, 2015

An image of Brisbane Airport's app. (Brisbane Airport)
An image of Brisbane Airport’s app. (Brisbane Airport)

International passengers at Brisbane Airport will be able to fill out their departure cards electronically in a trial of what the airport says is a world first.

Instead of hand writing their personal information on the paper cards, travellers heading out of Australia can enter the details on Brisbane Airport’s mobile app, which is converted to a QR code.

This QR code is then scanned at an airport kiosk to create a custom printed card that a passenger still needs to sign before they are processed by Customs. The information can also be stored on the app for use in future travels.

Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe said the feature was developed in-house with support from a number of external partners such as Queensland University of Technology.

It also received the backing of the Australian Customs Service and Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which “recognised the huge potential of this initiative”.

“We saw great potential in the idea and with approval from the Department to proceed, BAC provided the capital and resources to develop the program and necessary infrastructure, as well as ensuring all boxes were ticked from a practical, logistical and legislative perspective,” Alroe said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The result is an Australian if not a world first digital solution that will save time, streamline processing and help reduce anxiety associated with departure formalities, especially for non-English speaking travellers.”


The digital departure card was an idea from a team of QUT interactive and visual design students looking at ways of improving the passenger experience at airports.

“Filling out arrival and departure cards stood out as being a process that some people struggled with, particularly those who didn’t speak or read English,” Associate Professor and Chair in Airport Innovation at QUT Prof Alexander Dreiling said.

“Filling in data for the arrival or departure cards on the BAC App in advance, rather than filling it in on the cards at the airport makes the process easy whether someone is a frequent international flyer or a sometime traveller, regardless of age or language.”

The printing kiosks were developed by Brisbane-based Kernhard Pty Ltd.

The trial is for three months.

The kiosks to print the departure card. (Brisbane Airport)
A kiosk used to scan the QR code and print the departure card. (Brisbane Airport)


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