Times of India.
Despite threat, airlines not spending enough on security
Your favourite airline may have gourmet fare on its menu. It may have the best check-in facilities, a well-appointed lounge, efficient cabin crew, good on-time performance and the best airfares the season can bring.
But, what no single airlines in India has is a reliable security network. Despite airlines being top terror targets and despite repeated warnings from Indian security agencies, airlines continue to cut costs on security bills with impunity.
What is amazing is that the amount spent on security comes to only about 0.75% to 1% of the total operating costs or about $70 (around Rs 2,900) a flight. This is the case with all airlines in India," a highly placed airline security official said. "But it does not make any sense to cut corners like this. The expenditure on security will go up to only $100 a flight (a little less than Rs 4100) if the minimum security measures recommended by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) are followed," he added.
Peeved by the airlines' lackadaisical handling of the matter, the BCAS called a meeting of aviation industries' top bosses in May this year and issued a circular stating that the recommendations should be "strictly implemented".
The circular, a copy of which is with TOI, says: "No action has been taken by (the) airlines to implement the committee's recommendations till date. It is, therefore, imperative that the following instructions are strictly implemented by (the) airlines with immediate effect.
That was in May. But nothing has changed despite the UK-terror expose and the numerous security threats to flying. None of the airlines is in a mood to spend that extra $ 25.
And, it's not about X-ray machines or passenger-frisking. The violations cover high-risk areas. Airlines, for instance, do not have even a single security personnel to guard the idle Boeings and Airbuses; they do not have any one posted in the area where check-in baggage is segregated for different destinations; pre-flight, anti-sabotage checks are hardly carried out in accordance with the details in the security manuals.
Time-saving measures adopted by the airlines mean they completely do away with a certificate of security that should be given to a commander when the aircraft is being handed over to him.
This certificate should be signed by the engineering department (it certifies that anti-sabotage measures have been carried out according to the inspection schedule); the catering department (it certifies that catering items have been checked and the crew received them without complaints); the ground support department (it certifies that
equipment attached to aircraft have been checked and only seal-ed/security cleared baggage has been loaded on board); the commercial department (it certifies that all baggage and cargo have been checked); and the security department (it certifies that all the above have been carried out).
"Only commanders of Air India, Indian Airlines get a certificate from the commercial department, accounting only for the security of baggage, passenger and cargo. The rest don't even get that," a BCAS official based in Delhi said.
The security recommendations were made in the R P Singh Committee's report dated June 2001.
The civil aviation ministry had constituted this committee to fix norms for deployment of airlines security staff.
Representatives from airlines like Jet Airways, Indian Airlines and Air India were present on this committee.
The BCAS had called for the implementation of the committee's recommendations by September 2005 but nothing happened.
The recommendations are based on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)'s guidelines, which means airlines in other countries like the United States and the United Kingdom follow them religiously.
What ever said but it is difficult to believe that the Low Cost Airlines will follow what is told to them by the regulatory body.The top management for there own financial benefits risk the lives of thousand of passenger's every year.