Friday, May 21, 2010

Jakarta airport's twin-track immigration process

As this Jakarta Globe story suggests, Jakarta's creaking Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is sorely in need of an overhaul.

I was reminded of the dire state of the airport while waiting in the interminably-long immigration queue after arriving back from Singapore earlier this week.

While I was resigned to my fate, a couple of Singaporean business types behind me grew increasingly frustrated, particularly once the queuing time had surpassed the flight time.

I was rather surprised by their predicament as Singaporeans, like other Asian businesspeople, normally know how to play the system in countries like Indonesia where, as one friend puts it, "anything is possible".

If you don't like queuing - or having your passport or baggage inspected too closely - all you need to do is retain the services one of the helpful "fixers" based at the airport.

For a very reasonable fee, part of which is passed on to an immigration official in a side room, they will whisk you through passport control and customs quicker than you can say "Commercially Important Person".

You can view this in two ways. Some would say that such opportunities for lucrative backhanders (the fixers presumably have to pay off the airport management as well) mean there is little incentive to smooth the process. Or, conversely, you can simply admire the efficiency guaranteed by a little bit of baksheesh.  

No comments:

Post a Comment