These Guidelines have been prepared by the Permanent Technical Committee with a view to assisting the Customs administrations of Member countries in the implementation of the dual-channel system. In this respect, it is anticipated that these Guidelines will prove valuable not only to any Member currently contemplating the implementation of the system but also to those Members who already operate the system but wish to identify and eliminate, so far as possible, any problems which they are experiencing with such operation.

The Guidelines should be regarded as practical advice given with a view to facilitating the implementation of those principles embodied in the Recommendation itself and ensuring the uniform application of the system.

They do not constitute a rigid framework to which Members must conform. The configuration of the dual-channel system can vary with the structure of the airport and other circumstances.

Legal responsibility of the passenger

Proper implementation of the dual-channel system can only be achieved if national legislation provides that the act of entering the red or green channel by a passenger arriving from abroad is deemed to constitute a Customs declaration. Therefore, if a passenger enters a green channel he is making a statutory declaration that he has no goods in excess of the duty-free allowance and no prohibited or restricted goods. If he is found to be in possession of such goods, he is liable to be prosecuted, and the goods are subject to forfeiture.

Main features in the design of an effective dual-channel system are as follows :

1. Baggage reclaim area

The baggage reclaim area should, wherever possible, be separate from the briefing area, so that passengers who are in the process of reading the notices and choosing their channel are not interfered with or distracted by people who are collecting their baggage. This applies whether baggage is delivered by trolley, carousel, conveyor belt or is carried in by porters.

2. Briefing area

Lying between the baggage reclaim area and the entrances to the red and green channels, the briefing area should be sufficiently large to permit passengers to move about freely and to enable them to identify the channel through which to move without causing congestion. This area should also be equipped for the prominent display of large briefing notices. It should not be possible to leave the briefing area without going through either the red or green channel.

In order to provide the passenger with clear and adequate opportunity to select the appropriate channel, sufficient notification can be provided by notices sited along the arrival route up to and including the entrance to the red and green channels and by leaflets. The content of the leaflets and notices should include guidance to passengers on the functioning of the system, including the description and quantities of duty-free goods passengers are allowed when selecting the green channel.

The wording of all signs, leaflets, notices, etc. should be in the language or languages of most use at the airport concerned. The use of pictograms is also recommended.

3. Customs control of the crew and their baggage

Where, for clearance purposes, the crew and their baggage are regarded as separate from the passengers, they should be able to pass, with their baggage, through an area specially identified for their use.

4. Entrances to the red and green channels

The briefing area should be separated from the red and green channels by partitioning. This is necessary for several reasons. If there were no partitioning the whole of the red and green areas would be exposed and passengers would tend to make their way to the nearest examination counter without realizing the significance of crossing the Customs line. It is essential that the entrance should be prominent and as important looking as possible, and this can be achieved only if there is a solid partition with properly indicated entrances. The partitions should be fixed to withstand contact by persons, baggage, luggage trolleys, etc. The fitting of partitioning at the entrance to the channels also facilitates the mounting and display of large briefing notices.

Solid partitioning does, however carry disadvantages. The main one is that Customs officers in the channels cannot easily see what is happening in the briefing area. This is often useful since it enables the selection of passengers who appear to be waiting for a crowd of people to pass through the green channel. The ideal arrangement, therefore, is a one-way glass as the partition, but this does add to the expense of installing a self-selection system. Another possibility is to station Customs officers in civilian clothes in the baggage reclaim area to assist in identifying passengers for examination.

The red and green entrances should be of the same width so that, as far as accessibility is concerned, there is no difference between them. The actual width of the entrances depends on the nature and volume of the traffic, but 1.5 m is usually sufficient with a space of 2.4 m between the entrances. Between the entrances should be mounted directional colour signs with arrows pointing to the appropriate entrance.

5. The red channel

The red channel should be equipped with enough duty desks and examination counters to deal with that proportion of the arriving passengers who have duty to pay, and manned accordingly.

Desk units are suitable for this purpose; the number required is determined in the light of experience of the incidence of duty-paying by the particular traffic. The incidence of duty-paying can fluctuate enormously; and it is necessary to ensure that the arrangements are sufficiently flexible to enable more staff and more duty positions to be operational in the red channels if need be. It is important to avoid congestion in the red channel, otherwise there is a disincentive to passengers to choose it. Moreover facilities for privacy during baggage examination should be provided.

6. The green channel

The green channel should, whenever possible, lead directly from the entrance to the exit. Two meters forty is usually an adequate width for ordinary foot passengers carrying their own baggage. Examination counters should, ideally, be arranged on both sides of the channel along its length or in herring-bone fashion. Obviously, where space or layout of the baggage hall does not permit counters on both sides of the channel, only one side should be used. Moreover, facilities for privacy during baggage examination should be provided.

The channel should be long enough to give officers a reasonable opportunity to select passengers for examination of their baggage, if necessary, as they pass through.

Search/interview rooms for the carrying out of thorough examinations of passengers' baggage and, where necessary, of passengers themselves should be provided behind the examination counters, preferably with access from both red and green channels.

The green channel and the red channel can be separated from each other by a simple barrier : partitioning is not necessary here. The barrier should be so arranged that Customs staff can move easily between the channels.

7. Access to the exits

Once passengers have passed through the controls there is no valid reason why red and green channel passengers should not be mixed and use the same exit from the baggage hall.

8. Model designs

Two examples of designs which incorporate the essential and desirable features of the dual-channel system are given at the Annex hereafter.