High alert at Chennai airport, entry of visitors banned

Chennai: Airports across the country including in Chennai have been put on high alert followng terror threats after Pulawama attacks. Seven-tier security has been put in place and entry of visitors is banned. Passengers are allowed inside after a thorough check.

A dreaded terror attack on securitymen at Pulawama in Jammau & Kashmir on 14 February killed 40 jawans. In retalisation, Indian Air Force carried out a pre-emptive strike against terror by crossing LoC at Balakhot in Palkistan. This has led to tension at the border between two nations. There are reports of crossfire too. Vigil is being maintained at Chennai airport.

Following the situation, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) issued the alert and marked it to senior police officials of all States, in-charges of security at all airlines and airports, and officers of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

“In view of the intelligence input in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack and subsequent developments, it is imperative to enhance the existing security measures being taken at all the civil aviation installations like airports, airstrips, airfields, air force stations, helipads, flying schools, aviation training institutes etc. so that no untoward incident takes place,” the alert notification read.

As a result, a strict vigil is being maintained at Chennai airport. Seven-tier security has been put in place.

No vehicle should be parked in front of the terminal building and there should be intensive checking of vehicles entering car parking area, according to the alert notification. Another measure is — strict on ground monitoring of regulatory guidelines for operations of non-conventional aerial platform like microlight aircraft, aero models, paragliders, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), drones, power hang gliders and hot air balloons.

The BCAS has suggested enhanced screening of passengers, staff, and hand baggages and ‘strengthening of anti-terrorism/anti-sabotage measures and placement of quick response teams at all airports.

According to the alert notification, QRT and perimeter patrolling has to be strengthened too. QRTs are part of the CISF only, which is in-charge of security at various airports across the country.

Intensive checking of vehicles/persons at the approach to airport terminals/installations has also been called for.

Enhanced random check at the entry of terminal building, including utilization of bomb detection and disposal squads and dog squads at the entry point has been suggested.

According to the alert notification, authorities have been asked to “enhance surveillance in and around the aviation installations” and specific monitoring of “flights/helicopters/UAV/ UAS/drones/gliders/hot air balloons from airports/helipads/airfield around Delhi National Capital region”.

Regarding catering, the alert notification said, “Inspection by the chief security officer of the airline concerned from the presetting stage to vehicle check and entry into airside. Airport Security Unit/Aviation Security Group to ensure thorough check of the vehicle through under view mirror, cabin search etc and checking of the driver and attendant and their ID matching of signatures.”

There would be “no issuance of visitor entry passes till further notice”, it said and directed strict monitoring of non-scheduled flight operations including air ambulance.

The BCAS also called for “thorough search and anti-sabotage check of the aircraft by the airline concerned and its guarding to ensure no unauthorized access to the aircraft… to ensure that no unauthorized person gains access to aero bridge”.

NT Bureau