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February 5, 2015

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Heightened security checks at city airports

SECURITY has been beefed up at Shanghai’s two airports for the Spring Festival travel rush and traveling passengers are being advised to reach the airports much ahead of departure time.

The Shanghai Airport Authority said more passengers will be asked to take off their shoes and belts while bags will be opened for random checks at the Hongqiao and Pudong international airports.

“All passengers wearing boots, high heels and thick-soled shoes will be asked to remove them for checks,” Jiang Hao, the head of security at the Hongqiao airport, said yesterday.

Jiang said the checking of carry-on luggage will be increased by 10 percent without giving the previous figures.

Passengers will also be asked to remove battery chargers and other electronic devices from bags during security checks.

Every passenger is allowed to carry two lithium-ion batteries less than 100 watt per hour each.

Those carrying two 160-watt-per-hour batteries must be permitted by the airlines while batteries larger than that will not be allowed to be taken on board, Jiang said.

“Passengers should keep at least an hour for security checks,” he said.

Normally, it takes about 10 minutes to go through the security checks on domestic routes.

Over 300 passengers had lined up at the 10 security channels at the Hongqiao airport Terminal 2 about 2pm yesterday. Jiang said on normal days there would only be a dozen of them.

Additional security channels

He said during the festival rush, six additional security channels will be opened and more staff will be put on duty to speed up the flow of passengers.

Airports on China’s mainland normally have three levels of security checks.

The lowest, Level 3, is used most of the time, while the highest, Level 1, requires passengers and their belongings to be checked twice — by X-ray and manually.

The current security checks for the festival period have been lifted to Level 3, Jiang said.

The airport authority expects some flight delays due to weather during the Spring Festival, which falls on February 19 this year.

Some 16 ice removing vehicles, six snow blowing vehicles and another two vehicles to spray snowmelt agent have been put on standby at Hongqiao, said Shi Hui, manager for operation department of Hongqiao airport Terminal 2.

A waiting hall for stranded passengers has also been opened at the two terminal buildings at Hongqiao airport that can hold some 1,300 passengers, equal to the number of passengers on nine domestic flights.

China Eastern airlines said yesterday that it will send short messages on mobile phones to all the passengers whose flights are likely to be delayed for over two hours during the Spring rush.

The Pudong and Hongqiao airports are expected to handle 10.05 million passengers between February 4 to March 16 this year, which is up more than 5 percent than last year.


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