In a bid to avoid harassment and hassles at airports, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has taken the initiative to reduce management friction by removing the requirement for hand baggage tags at airports.
There have been instances where passengers are queuing to board their aircraft having gone through the security check process, when an official informs them that their hand baggage tag has not received the security clearance stamp. This spells stress and trouble for the passengers, as now they have to carry their luggage all the way back to the security check, go through the process again and have their tags stamped accordingly. These kind of scenarios have led to the passengers delaying as well as missing their flights on many occasions.
It is precisely this kind of unpleasantness that the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and AAI want to avoid and thus they have introduced the concept of tag-less airports.
As per the current procedure, passengers have to get their hand baggage stamped by the security staff after the X-Ray screening during Pre-Embarkation Security Check (PESC). The stamp is then checked at the boarding gate. This practice of stamping the Hand Baggage Tag (HBT) was introduced during late 1970s as an anti-hijack measure, but over time, advanced security systems made it superfluous.
Keeping this in mind, BCAS ordered the discontinuation of stamping of HBT at seven airports – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin with effect from April 1, 2017.
Trial runs were carried out by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and feedback from various stakeholders was taken before implementation of the new ‘tag-less’ procedure. Security footage coverage of the terminal areas via high-definition CCTV had been enhanced and upgraded as per requirement.
In the second phase, the ‘tag-less’ hand baggage procedure was implemented at six AAI airports – Chennai, Jaipur, Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati and Patna, with effect from June 1, 2017.
The ‘tag-less’ procedure has enhanced passenger experience by providing a hassle-free environment at airports without compromising on security requirements. The system also speeds up the security checking process.
In phase three, AAI in co-ordination with CISF and BCAS have carried out successful trial runs and required infrastructure has been put in place leading to stamping of HBT being suspended at four airports from September 9, 2017 – Kozhikode, Coimbatore, Indore and Vadodara, and at two airports from October 5, 2017 – Bhubaneswar and Bagdogra.
Ten more airports – Amritsar, Chandigarh, Pune, Mangaluru, Tiruchirappalli, Ranchi, Dibrugarh, Udaipur, Varanasi and Nagpur, have been identified for phase four. Tag-less procedure will be implemented after putting in place the requisite surveillance and monitoring system at these airports.
Following the success of this initiative, AAI is in the process of dispensing with stamping of HBT at all airports, which will reduce pressure on security forces and improve air travel experience across India.
Directorates of Security and Airport Systems