| The check-in area at the terminal building of Patna airport. Telegraph picture |
The ambitious project to install the common user terminal equipment (CUTE)-based check-in system at Patna airport is stuck in a limbo for the past three months.
Aimed at providing a faster check-in, the CUTE system allows an airline to access reservation data at all counters. It would enable passengers to check-in and collect boarding passes at any counter. At present, they flock to the dedicated counter of a particular airline.
CUTE kiosks also allow people to check-in themselves.
The reason for the delay is the alleged slow procurement of 10 CUTE counters and a CUTE kiosk by Airports Authority of India (AAI). The plan is to replace the 10 existing dedicated counters of different airlines with CUTE check-in counters.
Sources claimed that the groundwork for setting up the CUTE system, including cable work and putting up LCD display screens, has been completed.
The operation can commence within a fortnight of the delivery of the specialised counters. The groundwork for setting up the network integrating the individual departure control software of different airlines into the CUTE system, laying cables and software testing has been completed. The LED display terminals placed atop the CUTE terminals have also been fixed. Now, we are waiting only for the arrival of the CUTE terminals, said a source at Patna airport.
According to sources, the work for installing the CUTE system started at Patna airport in the last week of May. It was supposed to be completed by July-end.
Patna is among the 25 airports in the country for which an agreement has been signed between AAI and SITA an aviation information and technology service provider in February this year for the installation of the CUTE system.
Sources in the AAI said the terminals and kiosk had already been dispatched from Mumbai. The consignment of the CUTE terminals and kiosk is expected to reach Patna in another three to four days. It is likely to start functioning very soon, said a senior AAI official at Patna airport.
Sources claimed that the CUTE system could be introduced 10 to 14 days after the arrival of the counters.
At present, IndiGo and Jet Airways have three check-in counters each, and GoAir and Air India use two counters each.
Under the CUTE check-in system, there would not be any dedicated counter and any airline would be able to operate from any counter.
At times of rush, the airlines would be able to use vacant CUTE counters, thus distributing the passenger load.
Also, the facility of busy-hour boarding card reader would be functional at Patna airport with the commencement of operation of the CUTE system. Passengers would have to put their boarding passes on top of the card reader at the departure gates to confirm their boarding.