Air India’s Mumbai Control Centre Gets a Hijack Threat, Airports Put on High Alert

Air India’s Mumbai control centre on Saturday got a phone call warning to hijack its plane, following which Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) directed all airlines and CISF to follow special enhanced measures to assure security, according to an official note.

“A telephonic message received by the station duty office, AI (Air India) AOCC (Airport Operation Control Centre) Mumbai, stating information regarding a threat to Indian Airlines flight getting seized to Pakistan on 23.2.2019,” stated the BCAS note dated February 23.

The note added, “In view of the above, APSU (Airport Security Unit)/ASG (Aviation Security Group) and all aircraft operators shall choose the following (eight) measures with immediate effect.”

Both APSU and ASG are part of the Central Industrial Security Force. Indian Airlines is a part of Air India. According to BCAS note, the rules to be followed are:

Strict access authority to regulate entry to the terminal building, airside, all operational area and other aviation facilities.

Intensive checking of vehicles accessing car parking area to prevent the possibility of car bomb attacks. Enhanced screening of passengers, staff and visitors including an improved random screening at the main gate.

Enhanced screening and security of hold baggage, cargo, cargo terminal, catering, mails, etc. Monitoring through CCTV cameras as well as manual surveillance in and around the terminal building and operational areas.

Quick reaction unit and perimeter patrolling to be established. Manning of all cargo gates and vehicle entry gates will be established with strong-armed support.

Any other security standards based on local intelligence inputs. The Parliament passed Anti-Hijacking (Amendment) Bill in 2014 in order to lay down new protocol to deal with the hijacking of an aeroplane.

“The Bill provides death punishment for the offence of hijacking, where such crime results in the death of a hostage or of a security personnel; or with imprisonment for life and the moveable and immovable property of such persons shall also be subject to be confiscated,” the central government said in a statement on December 3, 2014.

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