In the next two years, it will be mandatory for all airports to have body scanners and human frisking will be cut down heavily.
New Delhi: In a bid to improve security screening systems of the Indian airports, the government has decided to install body scanners at all major airports by next year. This will help detect threat from non-metallic explosives like plastic and terrorism tools like chemical, biological, radiation (CBR) that go undetected by usual metal detectors.
Senior officials of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) added that in next two years, it will be mandatory for all airports to have body scanners and human frisking will be cut down heavily. However, passing through the body scanner for the passengers will be purely voluntarily and those with implants, medical conditions, pregnant women will be frisked manually and through metal detectors.
“Since the nature of threat is changing a lot of technological upgrade is happening in terms of aviation security…We have ordered installations of body scanners as normal scanners cannot detect trace of plastic explosives and other threat material,” said Mr Jyoti Narayan, joint director general of BCAS. He added that radiation detection systems have already been launched to check cargo for CBR and plastic explosives.
The official said that the BCAS is taking several other steps to ensure smooth movement of passengers at the airports without risking security. For instance, new CTX machines are being installed at airports to prevent passengers from taking out laptops and liquid from hand baggage during security scan.
The BCAS is also taking initiatives to check threats from “insiders” and sabotage at the airports. From last month onwards a background check of all airlines employees working in the sterile area of airports has started to prevent any “insider” hand in terror attacks at airports and flights. All Airports Entry Pass (AEP) unused for three months are being blocked. In addition, the crew is being trained to detect “suspicious” passengers through ‘Behavioral Detection Training Programme’ to identify potential threats. “We are also installing machines that detect unattended baggage for a long time. These machines will have alarm system to alert security staff.”
In order to prevent the repeat of recent the Mumbai incident where a mentally unsound man scaled the wall of the airport and reached close to a plane, the BCAS has decided to install Perimeter Intrusion Detection systems.
Mr Jyoti Narayan informed that following inputs from security agencies, the BCAS has decided to conduct anti-hijacking drill at all airports soon.
The last time it was done was in 2017. “We deploy air marshals from NSG on flights based on intelligence inputs,” he added.
BCAS is also inspecting its bilateral airport framework with several countries with regard to security scanning. The United States, United Kingdom and Israel use additional layer of security at Indian airports by deploying their own staff. Similarly, India has additional security layer in Colombo in Sri Lanka and Kathmandu in Nepal. Given the threat perception, India may expand this to other countries as well, the official said.