A new easyJet check-in area at Gatwick is being claimed as the world’s largest self-service bag drop.

The fully automated bag drop facility in the North Terminal with 48 self-service kiosks will help to reduce and eliminate check in queues, according to the airline.

Queue times have been cut by half and more than 90% of passengers will wait less than five minutes at bag drop, the airline claims.

Passengers arriving at the 5,000 square metre-area are welcomed by easyJet staff who guide them into the auto bag drop zone.

Passports are then verified against their boarding pass before they proceed to self-service kiosks to place their bags onto a weigh scale. A luggage tag is then automatically generated by the kiosks and attached to the bag by the customer.

This tag is then verified by laser scanners to check the information is correct and the label attached securely before the bag is dispatched through the airport’s baggage system to the aircraft.

This opening comes ahead of the budget carrier fully switching its full operation at Gatwick to the North Terminal by January 2017.

EasyJet has 60 aircraft based at Gatwick, operating on 106 routes. The airline expects to carry more than 18 million passengers to and from the airport this year.

UK director, Sophie Dekkers, said: “As our largest base Gatwick is of huge importance to easyJet both strategically and for the millions of our passengers who travel through the airport every year.

“We recognise that our customer’s airport experience is a crucial part of their overall journey and so we are delighted to have opened this new area for our customers flying from London Gatwick.”

The airline’s head of Gatwick, Chris Hope, added: “These new self-service kiosks provide a glimpse into the future of airport design and enable our customers flying from London Gatwick to have unique use of the most innovative state of the art facilities.

“In January 2017 we will move all of our operation into one terminal enabling easyJet and Gatwick to deliver an improved experience for our passengers.

“Alongside the consolidation to one terminal we also plan to continue to grow at Gatwick through increasing our destinations, further improving our schedule and by deploying larger aircraft as we replace smaller A319s with 186-seat A320s and, from 2017, A320Neos.”

Gatwick chief commercial officer, Guy Stephenson, said: “We are half way through a £2.5 billion programme of investment and the transformation of our North Terminal is a key part of this.

“Creating new spaces which allow new technology to speed passengers through the processing part of their journey will help us eliminate queues, handle greater numbers of passengers and put people in charge of how they spent their time at the airport.”