Are you carrying a power bank? It may delay you at Delhi airport

Poor quality power banks, which give an impression of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) when put in scanner, are a new headache for security agencies at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

delhi Updated: Oct 12, 2017 09:31 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times
Delhi airport,Delhi IGI airport,CISF
Poor quality power banks give an impression of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) when put in X-ray scanner at the airport.(Sourced)

If you want to save time at the airport, ensure you are not carrying a power bank, even in your hand baggage.

Poor quality power banks, which give an impression of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) when put in scanner, are a new headache for security agencies at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

At least two passengers are stopped every day and their baggage is manually checked after X-ray scan shows a suspicious image. Such a passenger has to spend 15-30 minutes at security check as the bag is opened and the power bank is checked by the bomb squad. Once the bomb squad gives it a clean chit, the device is deposited and the passenger is allowed to travel.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which manages security at Delhi and other airports, said there have been days when they had to stop over a dozen passengers.

“It is a peculiar situation. Some power banks are filled with clay or similar material. When scanned, they given an impression of a bomb. But, the good quality ones do not give any problem,” said a CISF official.

“It causes inconvenience but we cannot allow any passenger without ensuring that he is not carrying any explosives,” the officer added.

Delhi Police, which was initially asked to investigate the matter, said in most such cases the device owner said it was bought from flea markets.

“One of them was a tourist and had purchased the power bank from a flea market in Shimla. Another one had purchased it from Gaffar market. These are not really power banks and sellers dupe people by offering them at a low price. The public should be aware of such fake items,” said Sanjay Bhatia, Deputy Commissioner of Police at the airport.

The CISF said that they cannot ban power banks since it is a common utility item these days. The Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), which formulates guidelines related to aviation security, said that the CISF has been asked to double-check the bags with suspicious items.

Power banks have always been a security concern and after cases of power banks catching fire, carrying it in registered baggage was banned.

First Published: Oct 11, 2017 23:21 IST