Monday, September 27

From April, bag scan at check-in kiosk

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From April, passengers flying out of the domestic terminal of Kolkata airport won’t have to go through the tedious procedure of scanning baggages through standalone X-ray machines before hitting the check-in counters as the airport upgrades itself to inline baggage screening system.

Already, one out of the eight inline X-ray machines has been installed at check-in portal C of the domestic section. It has already been tested and verified as the airport officials have started the work for installing the other machines.

“The first machine has been installed. Others will be installed one by one, tested and will be ready for commissioning by March 2019. They will be put into use by April 2019 after obtaining clearance from Bureau of Civil Aviation Security of India (BCAS),” said a senior official at the airport.

In the current system, passengers entering the terminal stand in a queue, lift their baggages and put them through the standalone X-ray machines, collect them and then proceed towards check-in counter for boarding. During the morning and evening peak hours, a passenger often has to spend around 15minutes in a queue in front of the Xray machines.

In the inline baggage screening system, passengers need not queue up separately at X-ray kiosks to get their bags scanned. Passengers can head straight to check-in counters and leave their baggages, which will go through X-Ray machines on a conveyor belt before being taken to the aircraft. The conveyor belts are fitted with cameras and sensors that capture images of the luggage with a specific barcode and the luggage is then screened in a control room manned by trained officials.

“The system will reduce reporting time for a passenger to the terminal and also the burden of offloading their baggages for screening and loading again in the trolley after screening. There will also be more space per passenger in the checkin areas as all the standalone X-ray baggage inspection machines will be removed,” said another official.

He added that the scanners have a capacity to scan around 1000 bags in an hour. Also, the new CTX (Computer Tomography X-ray) machines have the latest explosive detection device that uses CAT scans and sophisticated image processing software to create 3D images of passenger baggages and analyse the images for threat. The standalone X-ray machines create a 2D image.

Work on installation of the machines had started last month in check-in portal C of the terminal’s domestic area. Airport officials said it takes around 20 days on an average to complete the installation in each portal. The new arrangement will have 8 CTX inline machines, one each for every check-in portal. A separate inline baggage screening system will also be installed for bulky out-of-gauge luggage, officials said. The sole inline scanner in the international terminal will also be upgraded in the next three months as per the latest requirements by the BCAS.

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This has been a long-standing demand and will be a huge boon for flyers. Traffic has been growing at our airport and, along with it, the length of queues, especially in vacation seasons. The new system can take care of some of the regular gripes.

Source: Times of India

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