More security measures at airports likely
19 September 2001
New Delhi: There is good news for Indian airports. The government will most probably accept the recommendations of the technical upgradation committee, set up to look into the different aspects of air security.
After analysing some of the best airports in the world, the committee, expected to finalise its recommendations in two months, has made several suggestions to improve security. They include: better X-ray machines with threat image perception feature, microwave sensors and closed-circuit TVs (CCTVs) to monitor security at airports. According to a senior official, the recommendations have already been accorded an in-principle clearance by the government.
As part of the integrated security system for 12 airports in the country to be implemented in a phased manner, all the 1.4 lakh photo identification cards issued to the personnel authorised to enter airport buildings and terminals are being replaced with smart cards with advanced biometric sensors to prevent a breach of security.
The pilot project to replace the 40,000 passes issued for the Delhi airport has already started. The closed circuit television system, which is at present only being used for passenger facilitation, would be augmented and used for security purposes also.
For international flights Air-India and Indian Airlines, security personnel have been trained in passenger profiling, supposed to be the most fool-proof security arrangement to identify suspicious traits among passengers.
The technique, however, has not been applied to domestic flights as the time a passenger spends at the airport before boarding the aircraft is very low.
On having sky marshals on board flights, the official said: "While airlines want sky marshals to fly on more flights, they are unwilling to bear the cost, as they earn nothing from the seats they have to release for the security personnel who pose as passengers.
The government is willing to spare more highly-trained commandos, but the airlines have to be prepared to pay the price of having the sky marshals on board, it is learnt.