Memories of aircraft disasters like the bombing of Air India Flight l82, where 329 people were killed, often bring concerns about the security at Airports. Today, security at airports whether domestic or international, has been given huge importance by governments of all countries , 9/11 catastrophe in the US is still fresh in the mind of people the world over.
“Security “,is indeed the most talked about topic globally today-Airport security refers to the techniques and methodologies used in protecting passengers, crew, baggage, cargo, mail, ground personnel, aircraft and property at the airports
Let us take a look at this topic in detail.
A combination of measures, human and material resources intended to safeguard civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference.
Security control is a means by which the introduction of weapons, or articles likely to be utilized to commit an act of unlawful interference can be prevented.
The application of technical or other means which are intended to detect weapons, explosives, or other dangerous devices, which may be used to commit an act of unlawful interference.
Threats to Civil Aviation
There are several threats to the Civil Aviations sector. They are:
Sources of Threats
International Efforts to Combat Threats
ICAO formed various Annexes to the Conventions deal on various subjects. Annex 17 to the ICAO Convention deal with the subject of Security and contains Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for Security in order to be complied by the contracting nations.
Powers of Commander of aircraft were defined.
Defined unlawful seizure of aircraft as offence. This mandated the contracting nations to make a law in their land where by the offence would be punishable by penalty.
Suppression of unlawful acts against safety of Civil Aviation, declared the following acts as unlawful, which were against the safety of Civil Aviation.
Montreal Protocol 1988
Indian Legislations for Aviation Security
Classification of Airports from Security Point of View
From the security point of view, airports can be classified as:
Normal: less threats
Sensitive : threat more than normal
Hyper-sensitive: high threats
Security Measures at Airports
Some security measures taken at airports are:
Placing security guards at important and vital installations, to ensure, protection. It is further buttressed by placing foot and mobile patrolling in the areas of vulnerability, so that the integrity of the security is not breached.
Registered baggage examination by the Air Operator (prior to Check-in) in case of standalone x-ray machine) and by the Airport Operator (in case of an in-line baggage examination).
For sudden attacks on the Terminal building or to mitigate crisis in an aircraft under unlawful interference.
Various Screening Concepts
The passengers are screened at the entrance of the departure, concourse. Passengers undergo Anti-Hijacking Checks prior to the Check-in. Prevalent mostly in developed countries, since it is a capital intensive plan.
Holding Area Plan
Smaller Security Holds are designed, and the passengers undergo the Anti-hijacking checks after the Check-in. This mainly prevalent India.
Boarding Gate Plan
The Anti – Hijack checks are conducted at the time of boarding and no specific area earmarked for Security Hold Areas.
Some Security Gadgets
Some Security gadgets used at Airports are
International Civil Aviation (ICAO), ICAO has recommended airport security practices standards.
Following the 9/11 incident, ICAO has made it mandatory that every country must have its security plans and contingency plans in place. Therefore, security at airports has become very stringent today.
The Bureau of Civil Aviation (India)
The Bureau of Civil Aviation is the apex body responsible for formulating the aviation security procedure in India. It performs the following roles with respect to security programs:
The security programs must be followed at all international and domestic airports in India. The Head of BCAS is Commissioner of Security Civil Aviation (COSCA), who is Appropriate Authority in India, for all matters related to Aviation Security.
Aviation Security Group
Aviation security group is the contingent which protects the Airports and carries out all the check in the Airports. It used to be performed mainly by the Police, but post -IC 814 Hijack crisis, Government of India has given this responsibility to CISF.
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)
The tasks of Aviation Security measures are carried out by CISF at more than 50 Airports in India.
People involved in carrying out airport security are:
Additional Airport Security Support
A security check at the airport is also supported by:
Other Agencies Following Aviation Security Programs
The various security measures that have been listed and shown above are carried out internationally at all the airports. The various wings and services like Catering, Cargo, Aircraft Guarding, Ground Handling Agencies, etc. Are all amenable to the same discipline of Aviation Security and are bound by their respective Security program which is duly approved by the Appropriate Authority.
Al the Airport Operators and Air Operators also follow their Security programs.