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New Fingerprint System Causes Huge Lines At Airport #533603
12/04/18 05:14 AM
12/04/18 05:14 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 60,072
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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Marty  Online Happy OP

Things went very crazy at the Phillip Goldson International Airport on Saturday. The Immigration Department used that day, December first to implement a fingerprinting system for arriving international passengers - and it caused huge lines, enormous delays and many missed local connections.

The problem? This fingerprinting slowed down the process and there were 17 flights arriving on Saturday. That's right, 17! And that left visitors arriving in the country to spend two to as many as four hours in line. The line wound all around the airside of the airport - and was a major annoyance to passengers who were catching domestic flights on Maya and Tropic to other destinations in Belize.

The practice continued Sunday and today - though the lines weren't as long.

Channel 7


Re: New Fingerprint System Causes Huge Lines At Airport [Re: Marty] #533613
12/04/18 07:32 AM
12/04/18 07:32 AM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,380
San Pedro, Belize
Judyann H. Offline
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Judyann H.  Offline
If the system is internet connected, we certainly know why it was slow wink


My friends call me Judyann

www.blackorchidrestaurant.com
Re: New Fingerprint System Causes Huge Lines At Airport [Re: Marty] #533619
12/04/18 12:25 PM
12/04/18 12:25 PM
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 6,758
San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye...
Amanda Syme Offline

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Amanda Syme  Offline
Before the fingerprint program was implemented we arrived one day, I think it was a tuesday, and the lines took well over an hour.

Re: New Fingerprint System Causes Huge Lines At Airport [Re: Marty] #533628
12/05/18 04:56 AM
12/05/18 04:56 AM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 9
Schumagirl Offline
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Schumagirl  Offline
Are we talking about the scan of your index finger that they've been doing for a year or two? Guess I'll find out this afternoon when I fly in.

Re: New Fingerprint System Causes Huge Lines At Airport [Re: Marty] #533646
12/05/18 01:17 PM
12/05/18 01:17 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 60,072
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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Marty  Online Happy OP

Immigration Keeps On Fingerprinting For Security

Last night we told you about the extraordinarily long lines for visitors arriving at the Phillip Goldson Airport because of longer processing by the Immigration Department. Visitors had to stand in line for two to four hours, as the line wound around the airside of the airport's arrival hall.

Reason? It was the first day of implementing a fingerprint system for visitors - which happened to be on a day with 17 flights arriving. It caused a lot of waiting around, but Immigration says it's not necessarily their fault. They say they flights are schedule too close together - which is what creates the queuing - which, they note, happens all over the world.

Fingerprinting was suspended before when similar problems arose on weekends when 23 to 25 flights would land. Immigration says it has to push on this time because compromising security to make things more efficient can put those same passengers at risk.

Another flood of flights is expected this Saturday and on December 22nd, arrivals are set to increase sharply by 40%.

Channel 7


Finger Printing System at the Philip Goldson International Airport affects tourism sector

On Saturday, December 1st the Immigration Department began implementation of a new fingerprinting system for passengers arriving at the Philip Goldson International Airport. The process triggered a huge delay especially since there were over fifteen flights arriving to Belize on that day. It caused a great inconvenience to passengers but they were not the only ones affected. Tour operators and Hoteliers experienced some distress as well. Executive Director John Burgos explains.

Executive Director John Burgos: “We were made aware of the issue on Saturday because we began to receive calls and complaints directly from some of the tour operators and some of the hoteliers especially the ones out of district and in private resorts that have specific schedules that they have to follow in order to get the people in before it gets dark. If you are catching a Tropic Air flight to some of the destinations or a Maya they are not suitable for night flights so that means that if you get stuck there when the sun goes down you would then have to spend in the night in Belize City which is unfortunate to many because they are looking to wake up at the destination that they are going to be spending their vacation and also for boat transfer for some of the private island resorts that they have to leave a certain time because of the different conditions that the sea presents in the evening so it is a safety and security issue as well. We have been in discussion with various players as to see what is the key route of the problem. As of yesterday I received word from the Ministry of Tourism that the Immigration Department is going to have their full staff this weekend to ensure that the transition and the processing will be done in a timely manner. We do know that the airport has certain limitations to deal with the volume of people coming in. On Saturday we had 22 flights, each flight brings about 100 people so you are talking about over 2000 people that were coming at the same time, there were some delays and then some flights came at the same time but still for the size of airport that we have we should not be having 2-3 hour delays. So the Immigration Department has ensured us that they are going to be having a full staff in operation this weekend to ensure that that doesn’t repeat itself so we are going to wait and see how that goes over this weekend. The high season is just beginning to kick into gear which means the large volumes of visitors is going to increase so we have 22 flights, you are going to have more heads on each of those flights so it is a major concern because of the inconvenience and it’s an additional cost also because if you have to make arrangements and if somebody misses their connecting flight internally or their boat transfer then they have to spend a night here in Belize and that is an additional cost of the hotelier and the tour operator. So we are looking forward for government to understand the importance of the matter and that they are able to make the necessary adjustments.”

LOVEFM


Re: New Fingerprint System Causes Huge Lines At Airport [Re: Marty] #533678
12/07/18 06:13 AM
12/07/18 06:13 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 60,072
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy OP

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Marty  Online Happy OP

Department of Immigration Suspends Fingerprint Scans

Over 20 flights are scheduled to land at the PGIA this Saturday - and the Director of the Immigration Department, Diana Locke, says that if there are long lines again, don't blame her staff.  That's because the Department has suspended the fingerprint scans, at Cabinet's behest.  

That directive came down on Tuesday ordering the Department to stop fingerprint scans for visitors at all border stations - including the Benque Viejo and Santa Elena borders.  From the Immigration Department's perspective, cancelling the scans is opening up to a security breach - but for the decision makers in Belmopan - it's about avoiding another embarrassment like the one that played out at PGIA last Saturday when lines zig-zagged all along the airside of the airport and visitors had to queue up for two hours or more.

It was a costly inconvenience for the tour guides and the hoteliers who were trying to get guests to their destinations. We asked the Executive Director of the Belize Tourism Industry Association about it today at their AGM. He told us that their office received a flood of complaints:

John Burgos - Executive Director, BTIA
"We were made aware of the issue on Saturday because we began to receive calls and complaints directly from some of the tour operators and some of the hoteliers, especially the ones out-district and in private resorts, that have specific schedules that they have to follow in order to get the guests in before it gets dark. If you're catching a Tropic Air flight or a Maya Flight to some of the destinations, they're not suitable for night flights. So, that means that if you get stuck there when the sun goes down, you have to spend a night in Belize City, which is unfortunate to many because they're hoping to wake up at the destination where they're going to be spending their vacation. And also, for boat transfer for some of the private island resorts, they have to leave a certain time because of the conditions of the sea that presents late in the evening. So, it's a safety and security issue as well. We have been in discussion with various players to see what is the key root of the problem. As of yesterday, I received word from the Ministry of Tourism that the Immigration Department is going to have their full staff this weekend to ensure that the transition and the processing is going to be done in a timely manner. We do know that the airport has certain limitations to deal with the volume of people coming in. On Saturday, we had 22 flights. Each flight brings about 100 people, so you're talking about over 2,000 people who were coming at the same time."

"The high seasons is just beginning to kick into gear, which means that the large volumes of visitors is just going to begin to increase. So, if we have 22 flights, you're going to have more heads on each of those flights. So, it is a major concern because of the inconvenience. And, it's an additional cost also because if you have to make arrangements, if somebody misses their connecting flight internally, or their boat transfer, and they have to spend a night here in Belize City, that's an additional cost for the hotelier or the tour operator. We are looking forward to Government understanding the seriousness of the matter, and they're able to make the necessary adjustments."

As we told you, Cabinet has directed that the Immigration Department hold off on the fingerprint scans for the time being. 

Immigration says that the real problem is limited infrastructure at the airport which cannot accommodate the volume of visitors.  They say they have 10 officers in all available booths - and that a fingerprint scan only takes 90 seconds.  Additionally they point to the fact that all 20+ flights in the tourism high season are scheduled to land between 10 AM and 3:00 PM - which is too close to expect the line to move quickly.  

We'll see what happens on Saturday - and later on in the month when the number of Saturday flights increase to 27.  

Channel 7



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