By bappaditya paul
Flying out of N S C Bose International Airport in Kolkata, you may have often wondered why despite travelling with only a cabin bag you are required to queue up for the boarding pass and why the city airport too cannot have automated boarding pass dispensers like its counterparts in Delhi or Mumbai.
Well, come January and you will breeze through to the check-in counter. The N S C Bose International Airport authorities have procured five automated self-serving kiosks using which a flier will be able to check-in for a flight and take print-outs of their boarding pass without queuing up before the check-in counters manned by airline staff.
A flier will merely have to type the ticket PNR and the kiosk that looks like an ATM will dispense the boarding pass. The entire process will take five to seven minutes depending upon the user; fliers will not be required to pay anything for availing the facility.
The kiosks will function under a Common Use Self-Service (CUSS) mechanism, which means they will not be dedicated to any particular airline; a kiosk will dispense the boarding pass of the airline whose PNR is provided as input.
The kiosks, in particular, will come in handy for those flying without luggage or those travelling light; fliers commuting with check-in bags will have to get their boarding pass the conventional way.
“The kiosks arrived at the airport a few days ago and are now being tested for commissioning. They will be integrated with our common check-in mechanism and thrown open for passengers in January,” said a senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) official based at the airport. “The kiosks will be placed at the airport’s departure level at five different spots.”
The kiosks, known by their trade name AirportConnect Kiosk, have been supplied by SITA, a multinational IT firm that specialises in IT and telecommunication services for the aviation industry. SITA has been already managing the common-use check-in and boarding facility for all airlines at Kolkata airport ever since flight operations were relocated to a new passenger terminal in March this year.
The procurement of AirportConnect Kiosks at Kolkata airport is part of a seven-year agreement that AAI and SITA inked in February this year for the latter equipping 25 airports in India with a common-use passenger processing system. Apart from Kolkata, the AirportConnect Kiosk will also be introduced at Chennai and Pune airports.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman on 24 November 2013.)