Airports prepare to fasten transit for passengers

Use of biometrics, cross utilization of X ray machines and increasing number of security and immigration personnel- Indian airports are planning to expedite airport journeys for international passengers.

On Friday, civil aviation minister minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia held a meeting with top officials of Airport Authority of India, Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru to discuss possible changes in airport interior design and use of new technologies to expedite immigration and security check processes for international passengers.

Officials from Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Bureau of Immigration were also part of the meeting.

“We are currently discussing the design models to speed up immigration & security for international travelers. New technologies such as e-biometrics are also on the anvil and are currently being tested. These will be key in our vision for international aviation hubs in India,” Scindia posted on social media playform X after the meeting.

Government officials said they have asked Delhi Airport to explore the possibility of cross-utilizing domestic and international X-ray baggage machines to ensure greater availability of machines, and hence which will lead to lesser wait time.

A thorough analysis has also been undertaken with regard to manpower requirements of CISF and Immigration officers. This analysis has been done including the planned expansion of existing, as well as new airports to come across the country, like in Jewar and Navi Mumbai.

A note issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that proof of concept trials for use of e-gates and e-biometrics for immigration are already underway.

“These are set to redefine the standards of efficiency and security in air travel,” it said.

ET in its January 29 edition had reported that the government was planning to roll out a faster immigration process for international passengers using a biometric process in order to speed up immigration checks as part of the government’s strategy to develop Indian airports as global transit hubs.

By the end of this year, airports in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru will introduce automated immigration clearances, which will allow international passengers to enter and depart the country without passports, using only biometric data like faces and fingerprints.

Long queues at immigration counters have been identified as one of the pain points for developing Indian airports as regional transport hubs.

The government is framing a national policy to transform its airports into major international hubs which will offer single point international connectivity for the entire South Asian region.

The policy, which will need approval from cabinet, aims to frame laws for easing security and immigration bottlenecks at airports, allocation of international flying rights and building necessary infrastructure so that airports like Delhi can become transit hubs competing with the likes of Dubai and Changi Airport

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Roy Walsh

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