The Union home ministry on Thursday had a meeting on the issue, as international passengers have been taking to social media regularly to highlight their plight. According to the accounts of flyers, the long processing is due to unmanned counters. Late last year, airport sources said India then started taking biometrics (fingerprints) of foreigners arriving here, but the immigration software was yet to be updated then.
Mumbai, the second busiest Indian hub, has seen long queues at immigration counters since late last year. Delhi’s IGIAthe country’s busiest airport, has seen processing time go up recently.
Travel industry insiders anticipate a surge in international travel this summer and hope that after the home ministry’s intervention, immigration issues at the affected airports get resolved at the earliest.
Immigration and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) — two key agencies at airports — are under the MHA.
Union home secretary AK Bhalla on Thursday reviewed the issues relating to immigration at the Delhi airport, focussing largely on terminal 3 where immigration queues continue to take longer than the ideal waiting time.
The meeting was attended by all stakeholders, including officials of Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Civil Aviation Securityand Central Industrial Security Force.
A source said the government is keen to cut the waiting time for immigration at key airports, keeping in mind that India is emerging as a key market and arrivals and departures at airports are set to only rise further.
The focus is to match the airport infrastructure, layout, security check process, and immigration management with the anticipated increase in air traffic.