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 August 29, 2000
Australia To Cope With Olympic Influx With Streamlined Airport IT

 Advance Passenger Processing (APP) technology has been implemented for processing arrivals at Australian airports in the lead up to the Olympic Games. APP helps border agencies speed up passenger processing and enhance border integrity. APP is a joint development managed by Sydney based IT solutions provider, CPS Systems and global network and IT solutions provider, SITA in conjunction with Australia's Department of Immigration & Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) and Australian Customs Service.

Using APP, DIMA can analyse important passenger and flight information at Australian airports via the SITA global network ? which reaches over 220 countries and territories - well before a flight's arrival. APP enables border agencies to make any necessary advance passenger checks using alert list databases and to schedule their staff rosters to deal more effectively with varying influxes of visitors.

In a recent press release (MPS 064/2000), Philip Ruddock, the Australian Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs said "The use of this system will pay a real dividend to the bona fide traveller who can look forward to state-of-the-art, streamlined check-in and border processing. These systems will be showcased in the handling of Olympic passenger travel. This helps Australia to combat illegal travel and puts further pressure on people traffickers who organise the entry of non-bona fide travellers".

Passengers on flights to Australia with the following major airlines will be the first to benefit: Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, QANTAS, and Singapore Airlines. Negotiations are underway with other airlines to also adopt the APP system, which gives passengers the convenience of "Express Lane" processing on arrival in Australia. APP complements the Electronic Travel Authority System (ETAS), also co-developed by CPS Systems, SITA and DIMA. ETAS links government
immigration systems with those of airlines and travel agents via fast computer transactions over the SITA network. Visa approval is processed at the time travellers make their travel reservation in their home country.

This eliminates the need for a time-consuming trip to a consulate or embassy for a paper-based visa. For travel agents, the visa is issued electronically in a matter of seconds, removing the need for visa forms and labels in passports.

ETAS and APP are designed to handle the growing number of tourists visiting Australia, especially in the lead-up to and after the 2000 Olympic Games, while maintaining the integrity of Australia's borders. ETAS is now operational for 32 nationalities of visitors to Australia and caters for 90% of all eligible visas. Since its introduction in September 1996, ETAS has processed over 7 million visas for travel to Australia. Now used by over 70 airlines and accessible by over 300,000 travel agents worldwide, ETAS can issue an "electronic" visa in seconds.