In-flight Immigration checks

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 30 Oct 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: The Immigration department will introduce on-board checks in planes to ease the passenger load at the counters at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang, especially during peak travel seasons.

The on-board biometric checks claimed by the department to be the first of its kind in the world is one of its long term measures to improve operations at the LCCT.

“We hope (with the programme), all passengers would have already been checked when they land at the LCCT,” said Immigration director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad.

He explained that these passengers would not be checked again in the airport unless specific problems cropped up.

“This will reduce congestion in the terminal,” he told mStar, the Malay news portal of The Star, in an interview here yesterday.

The pilot project was expected to start next month, he said.

“We will work with AirAsia, the main airline operator at the LCCT,” said Alias, adding that the on-board checks would involve flights considered low-risk and would follow existing Standard Operating Procedures for safety reasons.

He said the service would be extended to more destinations if the pilot project was successful.

Travellers had complained in the past that the waiting period at the LCCT immigration checkpoint was as long as 45 minutes as there were many flights scheduled at the same time.

Up to 20 flights and 3,800 passengers could be passing through the terminal at each hour during the peak periods.

Alias said, however, that the waiting period at the immigration counter was now not more than 15 minutes with improvements made from time to time.

Alias said other improvements include providing navigation systems, automatic check-in systems, more general counters and setting up groups of support shift personnel.

Immigration statistics at the LCCT showed the low-cost terminal had served about 2.66 million domestic passengers and 3.34 million foreigners from January to September.

LCCT operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) expects about 18 million passengers at the terminal this year, 20% more than the 15.3 million passengers last year.

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