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March 15, 2012

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Good news for Pudong transit passengers

INTERNATIONAL passengers transferring to other international flights at Pudong airport within 24 hours will not need to go through double immigration checks starting today, according to police.

It's the first time that the practice will be used at airports on the Chinese mainland, the police said.

In the past, transit passengers were required to go through immigration checks and get their passports stamped on arrival.

Now, they will be guided by airlines staff via passages to transfer to flights after security inspection.

Police said during busy times long queues are seen at immigration counters. Now the lines will be shorter.

Signs for international transit passengers have been put up at the airport's two terminals, officers said.

But the police stressed that travelers who leave the restrained airport areas during the transfer are not included in the exemption.

It is believed the immigration check exemption "will speed up the process and save time" for passengers seeking to board international flights at a time when Shanghai's immigration authorities reported busier entry and exit volume in recent years.

Normally it takes about 15 minutes for a passenger to clear immigration checks.

The new plan will shorten minimum connection time for international transit passengers as Shanghai tries to further facilitate airport service in a bid to develop the city into an aviation hub.

Last year the passenger volume at immigration counters was more than 25.27 million, officials revealed. Among them nearly 90 percent used airports, a 6.8 percent increase over a year ago when the city hosted the World Expo.

At Pudong airport, a total of 410,000 passengers transferred between international flights, an 80 percent jump compared to that of the previous year.

Some air passengers, while welcoming the exemption regulations, suggested the policy should be further extended to those transiting within 48 hours or even 72 hours.


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