Five airports across India have implemented an Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) in a bid to bring a halt to the smuggling problem by keeping track of ‘suspicious’ passengers.
Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports now have fully operational APIS implementation, effectively beginning the creation of the electronic database of passengers, crew and airline personnel.
APIS was given its first outing in India last year at Indira Ghandi International Airport and has now become more widespread following the success of the system there. The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) made the decision, under the Finance Ministry, to extend the implementation to other airports in India after arrests were made and passengers apprehended.
Customs officials released a statement earlier this week, “So far the system has been generating important inputs and its leads have resulted in apprehension of passengers trying to smuggle in gold and other banned items.”
According to the statement, there have been 399 cases of gold smuggling reported at Mumbai International airport, 265 at Chennai and 171 at Delhi airports. There have been 90 cases of gold smuggling reported at Kolkata International airport, 36 at Hyderabad and 34 at Bengaluru airports during the same period.
It is hoped that the success of APIS demonstrated at Indira Ghandi International will continue at the other locations.