The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has prepared a pool of more than 100 personnel to man additional security counters expected to be handed over to it for easing the ongoing congestion at large airports of Delhi and Mumbai, official sources said on December 14.
The central paramilitary, designated as the national aviation security force, has informed airport operators, airlines and the Union civil aviation ministry that while it can bring on board some more security personnel there can be "no compromise on security protocols and standard operating procedures followed by it for regular frisking of passengers and scanning of cabin baggage apart from fliers required to undergo extensive search due to specific profiling."
A senior CISF officer told PTI that the force has brought on board more than 100 personnel "over and above" its sanctioned strength at around 4,500 personnel at the Delhi and Mumbai airports each.
We can add a similar strength of more men and women personnel at other airports witnessing heavy footfall, he said.
This move will continue till the upcoming holiday season due to Christmas and New Year celebrations, he said.
After a recent review of passenger facilities by Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi, a few more security counters are expected to be opened.
The CISF has also assured that the force will provide additional manpower to run them which will help in easing the current congestion and streamline passenger check-in and boarding from Terminals 3, 1 and 2.
A team of CISF officers has also been tasked to supervise the operations at the security check area and direct the private security guards who have been recently deployed at a number of airports to undertake non-core duties like helping passengers to line up, crowd management and bar code scanning of boarding passes.
"We have informed the airport operators in Delhi and Mumbai and that we are in a position to deploy fresh manpower for the new security counters they open to fasten the security checks queue. It has also been reiterated to all the stakeholders that there can be no compromise on security, even during the recent spate of high footfalls at big airports. The ministry (civil aviation) and other stakeholders are on the same page," another senior CISF officer, who did not wish to be named, said.
The leaves of the personnel posted at large airports have also been rationalised and the maximum strength will be on duty over the next fortnight or so, he said.
The CISF currently guards 65 civil airport terminals on the country through its special unit called the aviation security group (ASG) and its core task is to provide an anti-hijack and anti-terrorist cover to these facilities.
Over the last two weeks, passengers have been posting pictures and videos of long queues and crowds at the IGI in Delhi and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai prompting authorities to take note and subsequently asking airlines and airport operators to take required measures for easing the traffic.
The civil aviation ministry on Tuesday asked airlines to deploy adequate manpower at all check-in and baggage drop counters besides requesting the scheduled airlines to place real-time data on their social media feed regarding waiting time at respective airports' entry gates.
Airlines have also asked passengers to reach airports early, do web check-in and carry only one piece of hand baggage for faster movement, amid rising air traffic.