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Air India receives hijack call, security protocols stepped up

In view of the threat call, Airport Security Unit or Aviation Security Group and all aircraft operators have been asked to adopt eight measures with immediate effect.

PTI | Mumbai |

Air India’s Mumbai control centre on Saturday received a phone call threatening to hijack its plane, following which Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) ordered all airlines and CISF to follow specific enhanced measures to ensure security, according to an official note.

“A telephonic message received by the station duty office, AI (Air India) AOCC (Airport Operation Control Centre) Mumbai, stating information regarding a threat to Indian Airlines flight getting hijacked to Pakistan on 23.2.2019,” stated the BCAS note dated February 23.

“In view of the above, APSU (Airport Security Unit)/ASG (Aviation Security Group) and all aircraft operators shall adopt the following (eight) measures with immediate effect,” the note added.

Both APSU and ASG are part of the Central Industrial Security Force. Indian Airlines is a part of Air India.

According to note, the measures to be followed are:

  • Strict access control to regulate entry to terminal building, airside, all operational area and other aviation facilities.
  • Intensive checking of vehicles entering car parking area to preclude possibility of car bomb attacks.
  • Enhanced screening of passengers, staff and visitors including enhanced random screening at the main gate.
  • Enhanced screening and protection of hold baggage, cargo, cargo terminal, catering, mails, etc.
  • Surveillance through CCTV cameras as well as manual surveillance in and around the terminal building and operational areas.
  • Quick reaction team and perimeter patrolling to be strengthened.
  • Manning of all cargo gates and vehicle entry gates will be strengthened with strong armed support.
  • Any other security measures based on local intelligence inputs.

The Parliament passed Anti-Hijacking (Amendment) Bill in 2014 in order to lay down new protocol to deal with hijack of an airplane.

“The Bill provides death punishment for the offence of hijacking, where such offence results in the death of a hostage or of a security personnel; or with imprisonment for life and the moveable and immoveable property of such persons shall also be liable to be confiscated,” the central government said in a statement on December 3, 2014.