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Airport security staff fail security tests, repeatedly

Can a passenger carry a firearm while flying? Are air guns allowed in checked-in baggage? These were few of the questions that 60% of the security personnel guarding the highly sensitive Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) failed to answer. Faizan Haider reports.

delhi Updated: Feb 08, 2013 00:10 IST
Faizan Haider

Can a passenger carry a firearm while flying? Are air guns allowed in checked-in baggage? How do you hold a metal detector? How is profiling of a suspicious passenger done?

These were few of the questions that 60% of the security personnel guarding the highly sensitive Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) failed to answer.

This came out of a test conducted by the Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) to gauge the knowledge of basic aviation security among security personnel at the airport.

The test has exposed the level of preparedness of various agencies — be it the airlines, the airport operator or Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). Less than 40% of them managed to clear the test.

In December last year, 75 personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) took the test, but only 18 managed to pass.

In 2012, 61 security officers of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) appeared for the test but only 23 cleared it.

Similarly, 120 security officers of various airlines were asked to appear in the test in the past few months and only 39 passed.

“The pass percentage of security agencies continues to remain poor despite our constant reminders of the need to improve the training structure. Almost every month, we ask them to appear for the test and if someone fails thrice, he/she is asked to undergo training again,” a BCAS official, requesting anonymity, said.

In the 100-mark test, objective questions account for 60 marks and practicals account for 40. During the practical exam, BCAS officials throw random objects in baggage scanners and ask the examinee to give their detail.

“In objective questions, we ask them about their role at the airport,” another BCAS official said.

A CISF official said negative marking and passing mark being 80 was why most of the staff fail in the exam. “Overall, the pass percentage is 69%,” a CISF official said.

While the CISF is responsible for the security at the airport, airlines also have security managers who have the right to frisk passengers before they enter the aircraft. DIAL too employs security staff.