India plans to simplify immigration checks for international tripsImmigration

June 08, 2024 12:50
India plans to simplify immigration checks for international trips

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Officials say India is considering simplifying immigration rules and increasing staff at major Indian airports to speed up the immigration process. The government wants to develop India's airports as a transport hub for South Asia, and an important part of this strategy is a concept known as air transport convergence. Passengers traveling abroad on connecting flights with the same ticket number (PNR) can clear Customs and Immigration at the original point of departure from India and at their final destination upon arrival in India, even if the connecting flight has already made. For example, a passenger traveling from Bangalore to San Francisco with a stopover in Delhi has to fill the entry permit at the second airport. Similarly, passengers traveling from San Francisco to Bangalore with a stopover in Delhi must complete customs and immigration clearance in Delhi and check-in again for their onward journey to Bangalore.

“This takes a lot of time, forcing airlines to maintain long connecting times, which affects efficient operations,” the official said. “The government is considering proposals that would not allow passengers to do so at their first or final destination rather than at a transit point,” he said. “The number of immigration officers and counters at these airports has increased, but decentralization of functions will help in streamlining resources,” the official said. A hub is a hub used by one or more airlines to concentrate passenger traffic. They act as transfer points, allowing passengers to reach their destination via an extensive airline network offering a wide range of routes. Jyotiraditya Scindia, civil aviation minister in the outgoing Cabinet, spoke to immigration officials last week to discuss possible rule changes to speed up immigration and security checks for international travelers as well as airport clearance, and held a conference on interior design and new technology. The new Council of Ministers is due to take its oath on Sunday. The country's biggest airlines, Air India and IndiGo, as well as major airports such as Delhi and Mumbai want to boost international flight operations and are seeking simpler rules and procedures, officials said.

Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO of India's busiest airport, Delhi, said it is using artificial intelligence to analyze passenger profiles to manage the workload of immigration officials. The airport registered an increase in the number of e-visa arrivals for the first time. “For them, we have installed additional biometric devices monitored by immigration officials, where first-time travelers can provide me with biometric data. So it's a two-way process that reduces pressure on immigration officials,” he said at the CAPA India Aviation Summit in Delhi on Friday. The landing time does not exceed 15-20 minutes." Air India has ordered 470 aircraft, of which 70 are long-haul. Market leader IndiGo has ordered 30 of these aircraft as it looks to enter the long-haul segment by 2027 and expand its business strategy to overseas destinations. "The proportion of international passengers on Air India's flights has increased over an average of 5-10 years," the company said. Chief Commercial and Transformation Officer, Air India. We hope there will be more."

According to Aggarwal, changes are needed to transform passenger services at Delhi and Mumbai airports into global hubs. “Privatization of airports has brought more revenue to the government,” he said. "For this reason, there are often no funds left for the investment. This will require creative solutions or incentives.”

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