About 1,200 additional carry-on bags were physically checked in a day at the Mumbai airport during a trial-run to find out whether stamping of tags on hand baggage should be scrapped or not.
A preliminary report on the trial period showed that security personnel had the time to physically check 2,810 bags on December 18 when stamping was suspended. Comparably, only 1,681 bags were searched on December 11 when stamping of tags was mandatory. Incidentally, 334 more passengers travelled on this day as compared to December 18, the report added.
At least 120 prohibited items or security removed articles (SRA) were recovered from fliers’ bags on the day when stamping had stopped, the report added. These items belong to a common list of passenger belongings ranging from any form of liquid cosmetic to sharp objects such as scissors.
“It is observed that the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel can now focus on their duty to select bags for physical checks without worrying about tags,” said a senior security official, adding that the move also helped in the decongestion of baggage movement on the security scanner. “The load officer can now maintain proper gap between bags, which facilitates between decision making for screeners”.
On December 15, all Indian airports started a week-long trial to assess the relevance of stamping hand baggage tags following the long pending demand from fliers and airlines to scrap the exercise. India is the only country to have such a practise.
While the city airport is back to the stamping of baggage tags routine, the CISF is collating data on security handling during the trial period. “We are also working on a time study. Preliminary observations suggests that we might have saved a few seconds per passenger by doing away with stamping,” said another CISF official requesting anonymity.
“Tags globally serve as name tags and an authorization to carry the bag on board. Stamping was done only in India but that is not the original and actual purpose of tags. Stamping can stop and that does not change the original and actual purpose of tags,” said an industry observer requesting anonymity.
From Thursday, hand baggage will not need tags at seven airports