After some recent geopolitical tensions, terror attacks, and military incursions, the government of India alerted all airports and airlines to “enhance the existing security measures” citing recent intelligence reports.
India is looking to keep travelers safe as a Hindu holiday approaches prior to elections in May. According to the government’s statement, the government is being proactive in preventing an “untoward incident” from taking place. All in all, 20 specific measures have been highlighted as part of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, or BCAS, plan to keep travelers in India safe from any potential threats to aviation.
The new BCAS directives ask security personnel to take a special interest in regulating who can enter the terminal and operational area. In particular, this alert includes the addition of full body pat downs at security and random screening of staff and visitors at the main gates to the terminal building, as seen above.
Already, in order to enter an airport in India like the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, passengers must display a valid, current ID and proof of departure flights to a member of security in uniform at the entrance to the terminal. Non-ticketed visitors, such as family members or friends, are not allowed beyond the barricades as shown in the image above. This new directive enhances random screening for those who are ticketed or work for the airport or airlines.
In order to drive up to the Indira Gandhi International Airport, cars must undergo a visual inspection by a uniformed security officer. BCAS has extended these requirements to include no parked vehicles in front of the terminal building and more intensive screening of vehicles entering the airport area.
Part of the enhanced screening includes anti-terrorism measures such as bomb detection and disposal personnel and dog squads to be on ready alert at terminal entrances. In addition, the Delhi National Capital Region (Delhi NCR) has been singled out as an area where airport authorities are asked to monitor and look out for flights, helicopters, UAVs, UASs, drones, gliders, and hot air balloons in case of suspicious or malicious activity.
Airlines do not get a lucky break from these enhanced security procedures. Airlines have been asked to place additional security measures when it comes to onboard catering. This requires the chief security officer of the airline to keep tabs of the catering from the plating and setting, to the vehicle loading, to the delivery at the aircraft.
In addition, airlines are required to conduct additional thorough searches and anti-sabotage inspections of aircraft and ensure that there is no unauthorized access to the aircraft from either the ground or the bridge.
These requirements extend for international and domestic flights. For some struggling airlines, this could prove to be costly, yet necessary, to keep travelers safe.
Flying is a safe form of transportation and there is intense regulation of airport and aircraft security. It is common for airlines or aviation authorities to institute additional security during times of mass travel or after recent geopolitical tensions. After 9/11, American aviation was never the same as enhanced security began to become the norm. Due to an ongoing war in Syria, flights have been canceled, and geopolitical tensions make it impossible for direct flights between Iran and the United States.
As of now, India still has its Category 1 rating from the FAA. This means, according to the FAA, that flights from India are up to the safety standards (including anti-terrorism measures) to fly to the United States. No current major international organization has deemed India to be an unsafe country for air travel.
Ultimately, we hope this is a temporary increase in security and remain hopeful that flying will remain the safest form of international transportation.
What are your thoughts? Will you be flying to or through India soon? Let us know in the comments below!