Saturday, January 28

Airport takes a step towards inline scan

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Work on the first phase of in-line X-Ray Baggage Inspection System (XBIS) at the Kolkata airport has been completed with the installation of Computer Tomography X-Ray (CTX) machines on seven conveyor belts that carry departing passengers’ luggage deposited at the check-in desks.

The eighth belt that currently has a different baggage handling system needs to be integrated with the other seven before CTX XBIS is installed in it in the next phase. “Work on XBIS has been completed in seven check-in portals. Functional tests are currently underway in all the portals to check the system. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of the US department of homeland security, will inspect the robustness and reliability in mid-July. The complete system will be tested in accordance with TSA protocol by a TSA-authorized agency,” Kolkata airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya said. Once the facility is available, passengers will not have to queue up and get their registered baggage scanned before dropping them off at the check-in desk. That will save up to 15 minutes during peak rush hours in the morning and evening.

The official hopes to forward the TSA report to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the regulatory authority for civil aviation security in the country, for a final nod before XBIS is commissioned. Bhattacharya said the approvals were likely to come by July-end or early-August so that XBIS would be commissioned around Independence Day.

Two crucial training programmes will begin next month, the first to train men and women who will screen the luggage and the second, to train the airline employees on baggage discipline. “Baggage discipline is a continuous process. We have to ensure that bags are placed properly on the belt so that the system operation is not disrupted,” an official explained.

While this will be the first in-line baggage scan system in the domestic wing in Kolkata, the international wing had the system but it was discontinued three months ago to enable the upgrade to advanced CTX machines. Bhattacharya said the CTX XBIS at domestic and international wings would be commissioned at the same time. CTX XBIS will be mandatory in West Asia, Europe and America to allow through luggage at its airports. The CTX XBIS can scan up to 1,800 bags per hour. “We are already behind schedule owing to a number of reasons, including delay in arrival of equipment, logistical hurdles, technical glitches and passenger rush. We don’t want to push it further through phased commissioning,” an airport official said.


Source: Times of India

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