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Soon, automatic baggage checking at Delhi airport


New Delhi : The Indian capital’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has begun trial runs for an ‘inline baggage system’ that would not only enable baggage to get checked and assigned automatically while passengers wait for their boarding passes but also do away with x-rays.

The airport will install the system for all its eight baggage rows at the international terminal, a senior airport official said.

While the inline baggage system will start working for two rows from July 1, six others will start three weeks later, a spokesperson of the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), the airport developer of the Delhi airport, told IANS.

“This would ease overcrowding at the manual x-ray machines,” the official said, adding that the new system was expected to bring respite to passengers.

“Once we have the two rows for inline baggage system by July 1 and six others in the next three weeks, passengers can directly walk to the check-in counter and receive their boarding pass while the baggage gets checked and assigned automatically,” he explained.

The inline baggage system is a combination of conveyor belts, bar code readers and inline baggage sorters. The passenger also need not stand in a separate queue for X-ray screening of bags before checking in.

“When the passenger deposits his baggage at the check-in counter, a modular system weighs and transports the luggage to a conveyor belt. Once the baggage is assigned a position, it proceeds to a security checkpoint,” the official informed.

“Suspicious bags are removed from the in-feed by high-speed sorting conveyors that deliver bags to an off-line inspection area. Only those passengers, whose baggage is brought to the inspection area, need to be present for manual inspection,” the spokesperson said.

DIAL had last month assured Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia that congestion at the airport here would be eased by June-end. However, it sought more employees to supervise security and immigration checks. The government has provided additional manpower for the Delhi airport.

Delhi airport’s domestic and international sections handle about 20.4 million passengers annually. The number is expected to rise to 37 million by 2010 and 100 million by 2030.

According to DIAL deputy chairperson Kiran Kumar Grandhi, the airport handles passengers beyond its annual capacity of 12 million.

Additional relief is in the offing a third runway expected to start by August this year. The international terminal (Terminal-2) would be revamped by July.

Besides, the Haj terminal would be upgraded by October and would be used for international operations from January next year.

A new Terminal-3 would come up by 2010, which would be an integrated terminal. It would handle about 34 million passengers.