In the wake of Friday’s bid by a Nigerian to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight and due to the holiday and festival season, all international and domestic airports in India are in a state of “maximum security alert,’’ according to senior officials of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is responsible for security at all airports.
The state of “maximum alert’’ was sounded more than a week ago and it has been continuing since then. Extra security measures were in place for U.S.-bound flights. Ladder-point checks of passengers and hand baggage were being done by respective airlines, the officials said.
Officials of the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the authorities were keeping a close watch on security and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) was reviewing the existing measures.
Air India, which operates four daily flights to the U.S. (of which two are direct, non-stop services), was adhering to a strict security schedule.
Jitender Bhargava, who heads the corporate communication wing of the airline, said security regulations at the last point of embarkation were being enforced strictly for all international flights.
“In the case of the U.S. bound flights, the last points of embarkation for direct flights are Delhi and Mumbai and for other flights it is Frankfurt. All security regulations are being strictly enforced by us. We have additional personnel dedicated to security duties and stringent regulations. We not only manage our own security but also provide service to other carriers,’’ Mr. Bhargava told The Hindu here on Monday.
As the post-Christmas and New Year holiday season continues the world over, flyers are being greeted with stricter curbs.
According to new restrictions worldwide, aviation security sources say, passengers on flights to the U.S. have to remain in their seats in the last hour of the flight. Passengers would also be not allowed any personal items on their laps.
“Cabin crew, anyway, used to collect blankets and headphones half-an-hour before landing, the time limit may be extended to an hour for U.S. bound flights,’’ the sources said.
Reports emanating from busy international airports such as the Heathrow in London said passengers on U.S.-bound flights from the United Kingdom were facing delays of up to three hours due to extra security measures.
Passengers were also being restricted to carry just one item of hand luggage, advised to check in wrapped presents, remain seated during the final hour of the flight and not access their hand luggage during this period.