Ladder-point security checks at airports soon

December 17th, 2008 - 10:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) Airports across the country have been asked to conduct mandatory secondary ladder-point security checks - the point where passengers climb steps to board aircraft - a top government official said here Wednesday.This decision was taken at a meeting between security agencies and civil aviation ministry officials Tuesday to finalise the new security arrangements to be enforced at the airports.

“The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, which looks after the security of the airports, has been asked to implement the new security arrangements,” the official said.

Though ladder-point security was introduced in 1999, the checks were never carried out due to lack of manpower.

Security agencies are also trying to track the source of a recent e-mail that warned of air-borne attack, the official said.

In view of the threat of a possible air-borne strike, an alert was sounded at airports and a multi-layer security put in place.

The official said more sky marshals would be deployed on board aircraft, especially on sensitive routes. He, however, refused to divulge details.

At present, sky marshals have been deployed on flights to and from Kashmir, the northeast, Nepal, Dubai and the metros.

Regarding cutting airfares, which are on the higher side despite aviation fuel prices coming down drastically, the official said competition would lead to fare cuts. “We cannot force them to do so,” he said.

Two scheduled carriers, Air India and Kingfisher Airlines, recently said a decision on reducing airfare would be taken Dec 20.

The official said President Pratibha Patil has approved the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) bill, which would come into effect early next fiscal.

Regarding the user development fee (UDF), at present being charged by greenfield airports at Bangalore and Hyderabad, the official said the government has not accepted it.

Many airports developers, including the Delhi International Airports Ltd (DIAL), have been demanding levying of UDF, which would push up fares up by Rs.950 for domestic travellers and by over Rs.1,500 for international passengers.

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