The government is planning to roll out e-gate pass facility at cargo terminals of major airports by the end of this year, said a senior official of the Civil Aviation Ministry on Tuesday.
E-gate pass facility reduces paperwork, makes entry and exit quicker, and helps in social distancing as it ensures minimum physical contact.
"On e-gate pass, we have been internally debating whether January 1, 2021, be too late or too loose a target to give (to airports for e-gate pass facility). But I would say that by January 1, we expect the entire country would still be in the process to get approvals for it," said Vandana Aggarwal, senior economic advisor, Ministry of Civil Aviation.
She said the ministry has had a discussion with various stakeholders and it is trying to make sure that "at least for those gateway airports, the ones that are large", the e-gate pass facility should come earlier than January 1, 2021.
"We can reach out to the smaller ones (airports) and get them in position by January 1, that is what I am broadly thinking of," Aggarwal said at a webinar organised by GMR group on "Air Cargo-Changing Dimensions".
The GMR group-run Delhi Airport on July 1 had announced the rollout of an e-gate pass facility at its cargo terminal.
The airport operator had said that the e-gate pass facility for import cargo delivery will help in ensuring social distancing by reducing human contact at the terminal and also expedite the process.
In the erstwhile system, the cargo clearing agents had to go through various documentation processes and stand in queues at designated counters at the cargo terminal for issuance of gate pass.
Cargo flights have been exempted from the government-imposed travel restrictions.
India resumed its scheduled domestic passenger flights on May 25 after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23.