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‘Flyers must get baggage within 30 mins of arrival’

By, New Delhi
Feb 19, 2024 05:58 AM IST

Bureau of Civil Aviation Security orders airlines to deliver check-in baggage within 30 minutes of arrival by Feb 26 to decongest airport terminals

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security in an order has directed all airlines to ensure by February 26 that passengers get back their check-in baggage within 30 minutes of arrival, in an effort to decongest airport terminals.

The BCAS has been studying the time taken by airlines to clear arrivals halls of six major airports since January. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
The BCAS has been studying the time taken by airlines to clear arrivals halls of six major airports since January. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)

“Airlines need to ensure that delivery of last baggage is made within 30 minutes as per the Service Quality Requirements of Operation, Management and Delivery Agreement,” the civil aviation ministry said in a statement on February 16. The security wing of the ministry has directed the airlines to implement required measures by February 26, it added.

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The bureau has been studying the time taken by airlines to clear passengers from arrival halls of six major airports since January, an official said, asking not to be named. These were New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai.

As per rules, the first baggage should arrive on the belt within 10 minutes of shutting off the aircraft engine and the last bag should be on the belt within 30 minutes.

“The airlines have been given final warning in the form of the letter written on Friday. If an airline continues to delay the process of delivering baggage, the ministry will be forced to take action against it,” the official said.

The bureau has written to seven airlines — Air India, Indigo, Akasa, SpiceJet, Vistara, Air India Express Connect and Air India Express — directing them to implement measures that ensure faster delivery of baggage.

Airport congestion is a matter of concern at all major airports in India. The government has been taking steps to ease congestion, especially after December 2022, when airports like New Delhi and Mumbai saw a sudden spike in passenger footfall.

Since then, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has been in discussions with airport operators and airlines to reduce congestion. Some measures have been taken, including increasing the number of departure gates, introducing new technologies, such as Digi Yatra, for faster security clearances, and deploying more manpower to handle crowds. Scindia also asked a some lounges and commercial areas to be taken down to create more space for passenger movement.

“Space allocations for commercial activities are planned on the principle of to be ‘on the way’ and ‘not in the way to ensure smooth and natural flow of passengers,” he said in December.

“The move to ensure baggage delivery on time will not only clear the passengers faster, making space for the others arriving into the hall, but will also help in security of the airport,” a government official said, seeking anonymity. “Since the beginning of the review exercise, performance of all airlines are being monitored on a weekly basis and have improved, but are not as per the mandates.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    I am a principal correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. I track the aviation and railways ministry. I also write on travel trends. I cover the beats at the national level for the newspaper. Before being in Delhi, I have worked as a journalist in Mumbai as well. My hobbies include trekking and travelling.

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