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Hidden cameras in aircraft to help counter hijack

delhi Updated: Feb 07, 2011 00:02 IST
Tushar Srivastava

Hidden cameras have to be installed in the aircraft cabin of all domestic carriers with controls in the pilot's hand to enable him or her to switch them on in a crisis situation like a hijack.

This is one of the key recommendations made by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) after the disastrous anti-hijack drill at the Delhi airport on January 19. The drill had exposed how unprepared various agencies were to handle a hijack. The BCAS is the aviation sector's security regulator.

"Having cameras outside the cockpit door, galley area and cabin was one of the mandatory requirements as per the rules laid by the International Civil Aviation Organisation following the 9/11 attacks (on New York's World Trade Centre in 2001). This enabled pilots to see what was going on in other parts of the aircraft. There are still some airlines without this mandatory feature," said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, a Chennai-based aviation expert.

Another key observation made by the security body is to shift the location of the isolation bay at the Delhi airport. "The isolation bay was very close to the VIP hanger. It should be changed from the present location," the BCAS said.

"The isolation bay should be in a remote place, away from any commercial building or crowded place so that even if there is an explosion no one is affected. Security agencies should get out of their VIP security mindset and focus on the common man," Ranganathan said.

The isolation bay needs to be properly lit with high mast lights. It has also suggested that a video conferencing facility be installed, connecting the Central Committee Control Room at the Delhi airport with all other airports in the country.

"A panel of negotiators with expertise in regional Indian languages should be maintained to handle stipulated aviation emergencies. A minimum of two psychiatrists must be available to tackle a crisis situation. Negotiation, psychiatrist and language-understanding ability should also be mentioned in the list of negotiators," the BCAS has said.