Mumbai airport organised a mock ant-hijack exercise to assess its security preparedness on Friday afternoon.
At 2 pm a bus was parked on a taxiway close to the secondary runway to pose as a hijacked plane. Airport staff comprising ground crew and security personnel posed as passengers, hijackers and rescuers in the drill that lasted about 90 minutes. Senior officials from the state home ministry monitored the exercise.
“The airport staff was successful in dealing with mock crisis successfully,” said a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson. The secondary runway was chosen for the operation because it is shut for routine maintenance for four hours on Fridays. The spokesperson added that there was no impact on flight movements since the main runway was available for operations.
Security personnel said that exercise was conducted to check the airport officials’ “reaction time” to handle such a crisis situation. “We were satisfied with the results,” said a senior Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) official requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the media. The official refused to divulge the ideal reaction time for such a crises On Tuesday, central intelligence agencies had issued a nation wide alert that Mumbai airport and other metro airports were under threat of a terror attack.
The city airport has been witnessing heightened security cover since the blast outside the Delhi high court on September 7, which killed 12 people and injured 76.
The CISF since then doubled its manpower at the airport entrance gates to frisk passenger and scan their baggage before entering the terminal. Deployment at watch booths located about 100 metres before the terminals was also increased to check every car entering the airport.