To relieve airport traffic by accelerating immigration checks during departures and arrivals, the government is preparing to roll out a “Trusted Traveller Programme” for visitors holding Indian passports at all domestic and foreign airports in the country.
Passengers with Indian passports would be able to use the new programme at Indian international airports.
According to some officials, the programme, which enables quick immigration verification for pre-verified travellers, will launch this year at Delhi and Mumbai airports on a trial basis before being fully operational at 15 airports by 2027 and all airports by 2032.
Three electronic gates were initially installed at the airport in Delhi for the program’s execution: two for arrivals and one for departure. Authorities have not yet started testing the initiative, though.
In the case of India, the verification system’s mechanisms need to be worked out. Authorities must also determine how passports will be stamped, much as they are done at immigration checkpoints for people entering or leaving India. There are no plans to broaden the programme to holders of other passports; it will only be available to individuals with Indian passports.
Since late last year, there have been huge lines at the immigration desks in Mumbai, the second biggest Indian hub. The busiest airport in the nation, IGIA in Delhi, has recently noticed an increase in processing times.
This summer is expected to see a rise in foreign travel, and insiders in the travel sector are hoping that the home ministry’s action would help the affected airports quickly settle their immigration problems.
A road map for the “trusted traveller programme” has already been created by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in collaboration with the Bureau of Immigration and civil aviation, an officer noted.
Aviation expert Amit Singh said that the policy that defines pre-verified passengers will be crucial. He also told that E-Gates simply serve to lighten the load or simplify the process; however, a backend employee must confirm and approve the passenger’s identification based on the immigration record. The e-gate will reject the admission if that individual is of curiosity, and they will then need to go to the manual counter.
Full body scanners (FBS) must be installed by December 31 at airports that handle more than 10 million passengers annually, according to a directive from the Bureau for Civil Aviation Security.
According to CAPA India, total domestic and international air passenger traffic is predicted to hit 395 million tourists in 2023–24.