Bali Airport’s ‘VIP Service’ Suspended
Visitors hoping to be fast-tracked through hours-long queues at the international arrivals hall at Bali’s airport will now have to get in line.
Until recently, an unofficial “VIP service” has been available at Ngurah Rai International Airport in which a fee gets arrivals swiftly through Immigration and Customs counters.
The service is operated by local companies in conjunction with airport officials and is arranged prior to visitors’ arrival in Bali.
But due to the introduction of a trial fingerprinting security system last month, all arrivals must now go through normal channels, the airport’s general manager, Heru Legowo, told The Bali Times on Tuesday.
Despite widespread criticism of the security measure leading to even longer delays in arrivals – where many passengers have disembarked from lengthy transcontinental flights – getting through Immigration, Legowo said fingerprinting should take “no more than one and a half minutes extra.”
However, he conceded: “If there are a lot of people, there will be longer delays.”
The fingerprints are stored digitally and returning passengers do not need to be fingerprinted again, said Legowo.
Diplomats and foreigners with residency permits are exempt from fingerprinting-on-arrival, because their data is already on file. Children under 14 are also not required to be fingerprinted.
Some passengers have said they waited in line for up to four hours before being able to clear immigration.
One firm that had been providing queue-evading facility is Bali Easy Service, which told The Bali Times it had stopped because of the additional security measure.
“We had an agreement with immigration officials and we had a special counter where we did visa and passport clearance for people who paid Rp200,000 (US$22.17) for this service,” a staffer with the company said.
He said it took 10 minutes to get through the airport with the express service.
“At the moment staff at the Immigration Department at the airport have stopped our agreement because of this new system that has been implemented,” said the staffer, who did not wish for his name to appear in this story.
“We are waiting for Immigration to decide if we are going to continue with our agreement. We will know in the next two or three weeks.”Filed under: Headlines