Tamil Nadu

Airports to introduce new security protocol

Body frisking, pat-down search will be dispensed with for now

As airlines prepare to resume domestic flight operations after the COVID-19 lockdown, the security protocol has been redefined at airports across the country.

According to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security sources, frisking and pat-down search of passengers will be stopped till further notice. In case of any unresolved alarm triggered by Hand Held Metal Detectors (HHMDs) even after repeated attempts, passengers will be denied entry into aircraft and security personnel will be helped by their supervisors for appropriate action.

Since physical distancing is the most important feature of the standard operating procedure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, security personnel will not get in close proximity to the passengers even while frisking. Steps are being taken to enhance the length of the HHMD handles with fibre, wooden or metal rods to ensure safe distance between the two parties, sources said.

Quoting new the guidelines, an airport official said, “All staff entering the aircraft shall be subject to frisking by HHMD only. While doing this, staff [must] ensure enough social distance between himself and the person being searched.”

While revised guidelines were issued on the processing/handling of tickets and baggage, airline staff at the boarding point would not use scanners to check the boarding card of passengers as part of a no-contact protocol. Instead, they would examine the boarding card by requesting the passengers to display it from a distance. The staff would also take a head count for reconciling the number of passengers with the boarding gate count before releasing the flight.

Other safety guidelines issued to the staff on duty included the use of digital currency instead of cash transactions to the extent possible, avoiding face-to-face contact with passengers, sanitising computers and keyboards, tables, chairs, handrails and baggage trolleys as many times as possible and minimise the use of mobile phones, diaries and stationery items.

Passengers may have to report well in advance since implementing the new guidelines will be time-consuming. Security personnel have been told that there could be a risk of errors due to distractions, stress, fatigue or sickness. They have been asked to keep themselves engaged and not pay attention to rumours and negative thoughts, the official said.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 4:09:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/airports-to-introduce-new-security-protocol/article31610359.ece

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