No more security tags for handbags at Indian airports in pilot measure

Passengers flying from six major airports in the country will soon travel hassle-free as the mandatory practise of getting a security stamp on their hand baggage is being done away with by the CISF as part of a pilot project to smoothen air travel.

A decision in this regard was on Thursday firmed up during a high-level meeting between the airport security brass of the security force and top executives of over a dozen major airlines operating in the country.

“Starting December 15, we are beginning a pilot project at six major airports where passengers will not be required to get the security stamp on the tags on their hand baggages. They can get their other security checks done and board their flights. This is a passenger friendly measure that we have initiated,” CISF Director General O P Singh told reporters after the meeting.

The pilot project will be started at airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

The CISF DG added that the initiative will be extended to other airports too, based on the feedback received. As per rules now, a passenger flying to a destination, either within the country or abroad, has to get a security stamp on the tag put on his or her hand baggage, that they take with them in the aircraft.

The stamp ensures that the baggage has been thoroughly checked and is safe to be carried in the plane.

Central Industrial Security Force officials, however, said that with the increase of technology by way of scanning a bag through x-ray, CCTV and a trained CISF security personnel on the spot, such a tag is not anymore required and hence is being done away with by way of a pilot project.

Passengers had also made numerous complaints in the past not only with the CISF but also with airport authorities that in case a passenger forgets to get that stamp, he or she, irrespective of their age or medical condition, had to go back and get the authorisation embossed which was a time taking and nagging affair.

This issue, CISF officials said, had also led to altercations between security personnel and passengers and hence the force was wanting to do away with it.

“Keeping several issues in mind we proposed to start this project which we are sure will be successful,” Singh said.

During the meeting, called to enhance cooperation between the operators and CISF and also to strengthen security of these sensitive facilities, the DG also flagged the number of instances of thefts taking place from registered baggages of fliers even as he suggested deploying of more CCTV cameras and enhanced surveillance of the loading staff. The CISF also asked the operators to work with their
staff in bringing about a sound security information sharing network in order to ensure anti-sabotage measures at these facilities during regular operations and also emergencies.

The operators, the CISF said, asked the force to enhance its dog squads at various airports so that the “response time and threat clearance for a flight under check is reduced.”

The CISF DG also highlighted an important issue about the “bunching of flights” at one time at occasions when there is inclement weather and airports get heavy flow of fliers at one time.

“The DG requested the airport operators to coordinate with CISF in a pro-active manner by providing for speedy clearance of passengers,” the force said.

The meeting was initiated by the CISF as “recent terror attacks globally at various airports demands active participation of various stakeholders for safe and secure environment and need was felt to enhance the participation of different agencies.”

The airlines which participated in the meeting included Air Asia, Go Air, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Vistara, Air Arabia, Gulf Air, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, United Airlines, Air India, Indigo and the operator of the Indira Gandhi International Airport- DIAL.

CISF which has 1.47-lakh personnel secures 59 civil airports in the country at present and the government has already planned to gradually entrust the security of the remaining of these facilities to the paramilitary force.