Tue | Dec 1, 2015

New system to benefit outgoing fliers - Expected to lessen immigration waiting time

Published:Wednesday | January 23, 2013 | 12:00 AM

THE PASSPORT, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) is currently testing a new system, which is expected to shorten the waiting period for outgoing passengers on some airlines.

The procedure, which integrates passenger information from airlines with PICA's immigration system, will allow travellers on certain airlines to bypass outgoing immigration booths.

Speaking at a recent press briefing held at the Ministry of National Security's New Kingston offices, Portfolio Minister Peter Bunting said among the benefits of the programme is that it has significantly reduced the waiting time of passengers at immigration booths.

"The store owners are happy because the passengers spend the time waiting in the area where the stores and restaurants are and (this) improves the visitor experience. And that has been done with no compromise of our border security," the minister assured.

Majority to be affected

Bunting said the pilot programme has been going so well that the ministry is hoping to "transition from pilot to full-scale operations within another month or two".

He pointed out that while not all airlines have signed on to the programme, widespread implementation is expected to benefit 96 per cent of the country's outgoing airline passengers.

"So, there may be just about four per cent of the passengers from airlines that are at this point not planning to come onboard, who may still have to go through an outgoing immigration booth, but hopefully, over time, we will eliminate that completely," the minister said.