ON THURSDAY, air passengers across the country realised that all these years security personnel had been lenient with airport security checks.
Let alone baggage, passengers at Delhi airport were made to dismantle their metal pens — this, after a passenger was found to be reportedly carrying two pen bombs in his pocket at an airport in the Northeast. The result of the intensive checks: flight delays all across India.
In Delhi, the arrival and departure of nearly 50 flights was delayed by 30 minutes to two hours. A domestic private airline's flight to Mumbai was delayed by four hours. The problem in Delhi was compounded, albeit for a couple hours, by a malfunctioning X-ray machine at the departure lounge of domestic Terminal 1B.
The machine -- one of two at the departure lounge of Air Deccan and SpiceJet -- was rectified by late morning. But the damage was done as security personnel had to make do with one machine for much of the peak hour. With intelligence agencies warning that airports could be on the radar of terrorists, the Civil Aviation Ministry implemented a clutch of preventive measures to ensure passenger and flight safety.
But because of the inconveniences faced by passengers, the ministry is now taking measures to streamline some procedures.
Civil Aviation secretary Ajay Prasad said, "Procedures are being simplified without compromising security. There'll be no queues or flight delays at the airport on account of security clearances from Friday."