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Airport entry permits to soon be verified by Aadhaar, biometrics as officials try to plug misuse

Entry permits are given to people who work at the airports, security staff, and representatives of embassies, ministries and courts

india Updated: Aug 24, 2017 08:55 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
airport security,igia,indira gandhi international airport
According to civil aviation ministry sources, for the Delhi airport alone, around 30,000 airport permits have been issued.(HT file photo)

The government will soon make the protocol for obtaining airport passes tougher, making verification by biometrics or Aadhaar compulsory for those seeking entry permits valid for more than a week.

Entry passes are given to people who work at the airport — shop owners, airport maintenance staff, airline ground staff, pilots and caterers — and to the security personnel. Representatives of ministries, embassies and courts too have special access to the airport through these permits, which are not available to the general public.

“Tougher norms will stop misuse of the passes by the airport operators. Besides, stricter access control will make our airports safer,” an aviation security officer said, insisting he not be identified since he is not authorised to speak to media.

The permits, called Aerodrome Entry Permits, or AEPs, are issued by the airport operators and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

Types of Aerodrome Entry Permits
  • Permanent: These are issued for a period between 91 days to one year by the BCAS following a background check by the intelligence wing of police. The residence details of applicants up to last two years are verified.
  • Temporary: Temporary AEPs are issued by the Airport operator and are valid up to 90 days. Temporary AEPs require only a background check from police station where the applicant lives.
  • Protocol: These AEPs are issued to protocol officers of ministries and embassies and aides of members of Parliament for arrival and departure halls to pick or receive a dignitary.
  • Visitor Entry Tickets: These tickets are issued by the airport operators for visitors who come to pick or drop friends or relatives. Tickets are valid up to four hours. But sale of tickets is suspended at the time of Republic Day or Independence Day celebrations due to security reasons.

Security sources said currently, the airport operator can issue a temporary pass valid for a maximum limit of 90 days to a particular applicant only once. Any extension in the validity of the pass has to be approved by the BCAS.

A security review found that airport operators were violating protocols. “It was found that temporary passes were being extended repeatedly at the level of airport operator,” said the security official.

The AEPs have also become a major instrument of doling out favours as well.

Following reports of widespread misuse of airport passes, the civil aviation ministry formed a committee, headed by a senior BCAS official to review the system for issuing airport passes.

Sources said the committee has suggested that any airport entry pass beyond the validity of one week should be issued by the BCAS with thorough background check of the applicant.

The committee has also asked extending the maximum validity of permanent passes from current one year to three years. A formal order in this regard is expected soon.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 08:55 IST