Starting Thursday, passengers at the city airport will not need a tag for hand baggage, with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) set to initiate a pilot project under which the practice of a security stamp on the hand baggage tag is done away with.The measure is aimed to decongest the pre-embarkation security check area and to make the entire process smoother for air travellers.
From December 15 to December 22, the system will be implemented on a trial basis in Mumbai, after which it could become permanent, at six major airports of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, based on feedback received. The decision was taken last week.
“On a trial basis, we are launching this move to call for accountability of security checks through a digital medium. The strict CCTV surveillance can replace the manual stamping and instead divert more force to profiling the departing passenger. This will also enhance passengers’ experience, make their baggage check seamless,” O P Singh, Director General of CISF, told reporters on Wednesday.
As per current rules, a departing passenger on domestic and international routes must get a security stamp on the hand baggage tag. The stamp ensures that the baggage was thoroughly checked and is safe to be carried into the aircraft cabin.
Enhancing surveillance through the sole use of the boarding card of the passenger will be the second phase of this change, Singh said. Introducing full body scanners at other airports similar to the one in Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi could also be on the cards in Mumbai.
As per official records, the average number of departing passengers at the Mumbai airport was 17 crore in October 2016. Authorities believe that managing the passenger flow at the airport could be difficult, but a better digital system would resolve the issue. “We are trying to refocus CCTV cameras in an extensive manner. Plans to implement Secondary Ladder Point Checking (SLPC), which includes comprehensive frisking in the future, are being looked at ,” he added.
An additional 700 CISF personnel could be added to the 4,000 present at Mumbai airport in the near future.
“We are also looking at implementing the rule of one handbag for each passenger compulsorily, to ease the amount of baggage rush. We are also looking at newer ways in which passengers can be mentally and physically ready about the steps involved in boarding and departure,” Singh added.