Alert at airports leads to long queues at KIA

The queues at the country’s third busiest airport are widespread, with passengers forced to stand for long hours at the baggage and security screening gates. DH FILE PHOTO

Just recovering from the fog and Aero India-related flight disruptions, the Kempegowda International Airport is witnessing long queues yet again, but for a different reason: elaborate security checks triggered by a high alert following the Indo-Pak aerial showdown.

The queues at the country’s third busiest airport are widespread, with passengers forced to stand for long hours at the baggage and security screening gates. Stressed over this, many travellers are taking to social media to vent their
frustration.

Ananth Sampath, a passenger, observed that he had to take off his shoe and belt at the security check. “I have not seen this in India before. Guess they need to buffer additional time at the airports. One hour is not enough,” he tweeted.

The stress levels have gone up not only for passengers, but for the airlines and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) as well. “Tickets, too, have become more expensive due to cancelled flights,” noted another passenger, Mathew Thomas.

The airport operator, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) had this to say: “Access control at all gates of the airport have been tightened and the screening intensified. There were slight delays due to intense passenger screening, but all within acceptable limits.” 

On Saturday, the Centre had directed all airports and airlines in the country to enhance the existing security measures. Issuing the alert, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) had marked it to senior police officials of all states, in-charges of security at all airlines and airports and CISF officers.

The alert applied to all civil aviation installations such as airports, airstrips, airfields, air force stations, helipads, flying schools and aviation training institutes. Twenty specific enhanced security measures were cited to be in operation until further orders.

Enhanced screening of passengers meant a 100% full pat-down search at pre-embarkation security checkpoints.

The BCAS directive also required enhanced random screening of the airport staff and visitors at the main entrance to the terminal
building.

Even before the alert, long security queues have been an issue at KIA. BIAL had introduced the Automatic Tray Retrieval System (ATRS) to speed up the screening process.

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