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Priority is to land flight safely in case of threat, says protocol

A Jet Airways flight was diverted on Monday after the “declaration of an emergency as per established security procedures, due to the detection of an onboard security threat.”

india Updated: Oct 30, 2017 23:32 IST
A Jet Airways passenger aircraft takes off from the airport in Ahmedabad.(REUTERS)

The aviation security force sprung into action quickly and was prepared to tackle all eventualities after a Mumbai-based businessman issued a fake threat of hijacking and blowing up a Delhi-bound flight.

The National Security Guard (NSG) was on standby and ready to be airlifted to Ahmedabad, the Quick Reaction Team (QRT) of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) had already cordoned off the area where the plane was supposed to land.

The CISF, which is responsible for the security of sensitive airports , said that the anti-hijacking team reached the Ahmedabad airport without any delay.

“We were coordinating from Delhi soon after receiving the call. Our team reached the isolation bay and took control,” CISF DG OP Singh said.

As per protocol, a Bomb Threat Assessment Committee (BTAC) is formed in case of a bomb scare and an anti-hijack when there is a hijack threat. In both the committees, representatives from aviation and home ministry, CISF, police, local government and Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) are present.

Bomb scares are divided into ‘specific’ and ‘non-specific’ categories. If the threat is specific and the aircraft is in the air, the BTAC can ask the pilot to land at the nearest airport.

“The pilot is contacted through ATC as the priority is always to land the plane. However, in case of a hijack attempt, if attackers are not allowing it, air force planes can take off and escort the plane,” the officer said.

Depending on the seriousness of a threat, a central-level committee is formed and if this panel feels that the threat is legitimate then the matter is communicated to the PM-headed cabinet committee on security. “In this case, a state- level committee was formed and central committee would have been formed in case anything suspicious was found,” said a senior CISF officer.

First Published: Oct 30, 2017 23:32 IST