Sangster Int’l Airport to get new immigration kiosks
TRANSPORT AND Mining Minister Audley Shaw has announced that 15 new immigration kiosks will be installed at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay by December this year, to improve the airport’s flow of passengers seeking to submit declarations when crossing Jamaica’s borders.
Speaking last Thursday during a press conference that was held in conjunction with a tour of the airport’s ongoing runway expansion works, Shaw also announced that by September this year, the kiosks will be capable of accepting C5 declaration forms, which are required for travellers to enter Jamaica.
“The Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) will collaborate with the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) and Montego Bay Jamaica Airports Limited (MBJ) to procure and install 15 additional immigration kiosks, moving the total from 45 which exist now to 60 kiosks.
“These will be ordered by next week so that they will be supplied by December of this year, and the AAJ has consented to the order and will identify the necessary funding for this,” Shaw told the briefing.
“PICA has programmed the immigration kiosks to now process the C5 declaration forms, and this should be fully rolled out by the end of September,” Shaw added.
“This is significant because it will divert a significant number of passengers from submitting the manual forms at the immigration counters.”
These upcoming upgrades will complement the current construction for expansion and upgrading of the Sangster International Airport’s Taxi Echo runway, to allow for more efficient taxiing of arriving aircraft. The expansion, which also includes realignment of sections of the nearby Kent Avenue and a new entrance linked to the Montego Bay bypass, is part of works being done at the airport at a cost of $10.9 billion.
Additionally, PICA and MBJ will be working together on other measures to improve the airport’s flow of service provision and reduction of congestion at the facility. These measures will include installation of signs, training of customer service staff, and provision of announcements for travellers as needed.
“These measures, we believe, will significantly improve the congestion issues until the airport expansion projects are fully implemented, and that in and of itself will make the congestion issues a thing of the past,” said Shaw.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, who was also on hand for last Thursday’s press conference and airport tour, noted that the visiting traveller’s experience in Jamaica must include satisfactory service at the airport itself.
“The improvement of our border management system guarantees the safety and security of persons utilising our ports of entry for legitimate purposes, but also ensures that visitors to our island must have a welcoming, safe and efficient entry. The visitor experience at the airport is crucial for the level of returning visitors to the country,” said Chang.
“Tourism is one of our primary economic activities, and it is a service that requires effective management of our ports, and especially the airports,” he added. “We are doing pretty well now, but we have to keep it that way and improve and expand as we proceed.”