Monday, February 10, 2020

Airport authority, airlines officials to discuss roll-out of inline baggage scan

Kolkata: The authorities at Kolkata airport will meet airlines’ representatives next week to discuss the preparedness for the roll-out of the much-awaited inline baggage screening (ILBS) system. Once it is introduced, passengers will be able to drop their checked-in bags directly at the check-in counter instead of first getting them scanned at standalone X-Ray machines.
While Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials in Kolkata are keen to introduce ILBS at the earliest following the nod from Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), airport director Kaushik Bhattacharjee said the roll-out could happen in phases between October 20 and 28, with portals dedicated to airlines being commissioned one at a time. In the international wing, though, all portals — F, G and H — will be commissioned at one go since they follow dynamic allocation and are not dedicated to any carrier.

“We know there is a lot of interest in the introduction of ILBS as it will eliminate one queue and save flyers 5-15 minutes. But we have to consult the airline and find out if they have any concerns or issues before finalising the commissioning schedule. Of the five portals in the domestic wing, four will get ILBS while all three portals in the international wing will get the facility,” said Bhattacharjee.

Portal A, used by GoAir and AirAsia, will get the system at a later date as it will require the Spanish baggage handling system supplier to rework the software. The other seven portals — B to H — are managed by German firm Siemens.

According to airport officials, portal D, which caters to SpiceJet and Vistara, and portal E, which has Air India, could be commissioned separately. But portals B and C, which cater to IndiGo, will have to be commissioned at the same time.

The migration to the new system will be tricky as it requires baggage handling discipline by airline staff and rigorous screening by AAI’s baggage screeners. Airlines will have to ensure a minimum separation between two bags placed on the belt and put small bags, duffel bags and rucksacks that have belts in trays for the system to work seamlessly.
Of the 80-plus screeners, 50 have received certification by BCAS. The rest are expected to be certified before ILBS is commissioned.
10/02/20 Subhro Niyogi/Times of India
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