Brisbane Airport (BNE) is leading the way with the trial of an innovative Digital Departure Card for international passengers, removing the age old necessity of hand writing the official ‘outgoing passenger card’ (Departure Card) required for immigration purposes.

How does the departure card work?

Developed in-house with support from a number of partners, the new Digital Departure Card is built within the scope of BNE’s popular mobile App, giving passengers the ability to enter and save personal information for the Departure Card onto their mobile device prior to their arrival at the airport.

Brisbane Departure Card App

This information is converted into a QR code that is scanned and printed at bespoke kiosks located in the International Terminal.The personalised and custom printed card is then signed by the passenger and collected by Customs officers during the normal departure process.Passengers are also able to save their profiles (as well as the profiles of other family members with permission) within the app so that they do not have to complete their personal information every time they travel internationally from BNE.

Developing the digital departure card

Julieanne Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director, said close collaboration with external partners enabled BAC to implement world first digital initiatives.

“We are fortunate to have a long association with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and it was a team of QUT Interactive and Visual Design students who came up with the initial idea of digitalising the Departure Card process as part of a practical assessment.”

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.

Alexander Dreiling, Associate Professor and Chair in Airport Innovation at QUT, said Creative Industries students were tasked with identifying a way in which the passenger experience could be improved.
“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,” Professor Dreiling said.

“QUT students and staff were keen to take on this project and develop a solution to prototype stage.”

Brisbane Departure Kiosk

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.

Professor Dreiling said the experience had been a very rewarding one for staff and students involved as it went to the heart of QUT’s teaching philosophy.

In a nod to the digital expertise being cultivated in Queensland, Brisbane-based entrepreneur Stephan Clemens of Kernhard Pty Ltd created a smart solution for printing the Departure cards, when mainstream suppliers could not. “Kernhard received fantastic support from BAC. It provided an environment which gave Kernhard all options to succeed. Perfect conditions for a start-up.”

“Personally, this is like a dream come true. As passionate glider pilot with entrepreneurial spirit this catapults me right into the aviation industry,”

On successful completion of the trial, the Digital Departure Card prototype will allow performance measurement and the ability to refine the design for future large scale releases.

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