A total of 17 airports are hand baggage stamp-free in the country at present.
Ten more airports in the country, including Pune and Ranchi, will soon do away with the practice of stamping domestic passengers' hand baggage tags, a new air travel regime that began at civil airports in April this year. A total of 17 airports are stamp-free in the country at present, with four airports joining the new protocol yesterday.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), tasked to secure 59 civil airports against terror and security threats, will soon launch a trial of the new system at Amritsar, Chandigarh, Varanasi, Udaipur, Dibrugarh, Nagpur, Managalore, Trichy, Pune and Ranchi airports.
"We will be conducting the trial at ten more airports. Once the trials are successful, we would be bringing these ten airports under the stamp-free hand baggage regime by this month end or early October," CISF Director General OP Singh told PTI.
The force, along with other aviation security stakeholders, had started the regime at the Jaipur, Guwahati, Lucknow and Trivandrum, Patna and Chennai airports from June 1.
It has already done away with the system at seven other air facilities in Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad, since April 1.
Sources in aviation security said two airports at Bhubaneswar and Bagdogra could also have been brought under the new regime, with the four airports of Coimbatore, Kolkata, Indore and Vadodara yesterday, but some "infrastructural issues" delayed the move.
The trial at the ten fresh airports will ensure that adequate security gadgets and logistics are provided at these facilities so that tight security measures are in place once the stamping of the hand baggage tags procedure is discontinued.
By having the stamped tags on the hand baggage, the security personnel used to be assured that no weapon or ammunition like material enters the aircraft. It also pin points the accountability on the CISF personnel who clear the baggage.
With the deployment of smart cameras and re-positioning of security paraphernalia at the ten airports after the trial period, the same objective is being achieved.
The old stamping of hand baggage bags procedure had been a major irritant for passengers and they have made many complaints in this regard to airport authorities saying the system poses hassles for them as it consumes time and in case they forget to get it tagged, security personnel would ask them to go back and get it done.
A committee comprising officials of the CISF, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the airport operators has been constituted early this year by the government to smoothen the roll-out of this new protocol at all the 59 airports guarded by the paramilitary force.
DG Singh had maintained that the new measure will enhance "passenger experience and provide hassle free security environment to them" while travelling through the airports.
The new protocols are only meant for domestic passengers and those travelling to international destinations will have to get their hand baggage tags stamped as usual.