With rising terror threat, the Centre on Tuesday asked states to beef up security for both public and private aircraft fleet and aviation facilities, including abandoned airstrips, and carry out drills on a regular basis.
In the backdrop of accidents involving VVIP aircraft and helicopters including the one that claimed the life of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S R Reddy, the state governments were also told to adhere to a set of fresh rules and procedures regarding aviation safety, once these are finalised by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
"We have stressed the need for enhanced security and emphasised that all steps must be taken by state governments in this regard, including carrying out regular anti-hijack drills, planning comprehensive security for aircraft," Civil Aviation Secretary M M Nambiar told reporters after a meetingwith officials of state governments on air operations.
Replying to questions, he said state governments have been asked to identify and prepare a list of abandoned or unused airstrips and enhance their security.
Nambiar said till date, no state government, barring Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan, had the non-scheduled operators permit (NSOP) to operate VVIP flights. "Other states are operating without any air operating permit."
DGCA chief Nasim Zaidi said there was "no defined or laid down regulation for such operations" though state governments did have aircraft registered under normal and passenger category.