In a major change in how airport safety is managed, the government has allowed airport operators (both private and government) to deploy non-public safety guards at airports.
This is the first time since 2002 that private security has been allowed in airports since the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) became responsible for airport security after the Kandahar Hijack incident.
This move comes after the centre felt that the strength of CISF was not enough to cater to the burgeoning growth in air traffic. Currently, out of 118 operational airports, 64 are manned by CISF’s Aviation Security Group.
The rest are with state police or India Reserve Battalions. Against the required airport security strength of 30,003, CISF has 29,399, leaving a shortfall, said a survey by the Centre.
The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), which is responsible for aviation security has passed an instruction to airports, which has allowed them to outsource the job of manning security in five non-core areas like segregating passengers at airport gates, queue management in front of boarding counters, baggage control, cargo area and security of visitor’s gallery.
With footfalls rising in major metro airports and several new airports joining India’s aviation network driven by the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme (read: UDAN) scheme, the deployment of private security guards will lessen the burden on CISF.
“Private security agency has been allowed in non-core or non-strategic areas of airports. Along with CISF, if private security guards are also deployed, this will increase the effectiveness and quality of airport security.”Jaideep Prasad, Joint DG, BCAS
The training of private security guards will be similar to that of CISF, which will also be beneficial for the industry in the long run which is seeing an exponential increase in traffic. Multiple private airports have already started deploying private security guards.
Adani-owned Ahmedabad and Guwahati airports have deployed around 100 private security personnel to man the non-core areas.
(With Inputs from The Economic Times)