KARACHI: Pakistan customs authorities have chalked out a comprehensive plan to facilitate passengers at new airport by incorporating best international practices. On the customs side, everything would be ready once the construction work is completed and would be in line with modern facilitation measures taken at the best airports of the world.
An expert team of officers from Model Customs Collectorate (MCC), Islamabad recently attended a series of meetings with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) at the new Islamabad International Airport. Both the sides have discussed in detail the proposals floated by Pakistan Customs. The MCC Islamabad officials are playing their due role in the whole process to ensure implementation of systems to minimise human interaction with maximum facilitation to the passengers during clearance of their baggage at the new airport.
Keeping in view best international practices, the customs would implement measures to facilitate clearance of baggage of incoming and outgoing passengers at new airport to avoid repeated examination of passengers’ baggage. A key facilitate measure is introduction of a single window operational facility for the passengers having unaccompanied baggage.
Customs authorities have proposed that for baggage of incoming passengers, scanners may be placed outside the conveyer belts so as to ensure minimum human interaction and maximum passenger facilitation. The CAA has agreed in principle subject to feasibility at this stage. A meeting has been arranged with Civil Aviation Authority for assessing its feasibility on sight.
For departing passengers, it is proposed that all agencies simultaneously man the scanners and their counters be placed adjacent to the scanners so that whosoever doubts baggage items, gets it examined there and then, avoiding repeated examination. Moreover, customs declaration counter should be placed before the first scanners at the entry points of International Departure Hall. Responding to this proposal, the CAA has agreed to the said proposal.
The CAA has also endorsed another proposal of presence of Customs offices at gates through which catering/engineering services enter the airside. Another major facilitative measure is the single window operational facility to the unaccompanied baggage section, facing front side of cargo sheds for providing maximum facilitation to the passengers. The proposal registered and noted for compliance by all ground handling agents. The decision regarding sharing of a single state-of-the-art CCTV system by concerned agencies having live CCTV access and recording facility to all of them, at passengers as well as Cargo terminal areas was also taken. The CAA also endorsed the proposal of customs saying that proposal is already incorporated in the ongoing project.
For establishment of canine section, the CAA was requested to incorporate requisite arrangement for accommodation of eight sniffer dogs as well as equal number of dog handlers. The proposal has been agreed upon and maps are already being prepared by CAA architects in consultation with Pakistan Customs.
One of the new initiative would be the creation of K-9 unit at the new Islamabad airport for detection of narcotics or weapons by customs. The K-9 units are usually composed of law-enforcement officers partnered with highly-trained canines. These specially trained dogs are chosen for their intelligence and strong sense of smell.
These dogs can help for searching missing persons , narcotics or weapons detection. Another proposal is the provision of accommodation for residential purposes for Customs staff under section 14A of the Customs Act, 1969. The CAA