Soon, flyers will have to pay slightly higher security fee

March 8, 2019 By King

Soon, flyers will have to pay slightly higher security fee


(Representative image)(Representative image)

NEW DELHI: Air travelers will soon be paying a little more to ensure they fly secure. The passenger security fee (PSF) of Rs 130 paid by each flyer to cover cost of security deployment at airports could see a hike. Domestic and international passenger may be required to pay Rs 20 and Rs 40 more, respectively, taking their PSF to Rs 150 and Rs 170.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which provides security deployment at 61 airports, has huge outstandings from airports. While the PPP metro ones owe it the largest amount, there are some dues from Airports Authority of India (AAI) airports. All airport operators have maintained PSF of Rs 130 decided years ago is inadequate to meet CISF deployment expense.

“The government then set up a panel to review this demand. The panel is looking at a hike of Rs 20 for domestic passengers,” said M A Ganapathy, CISF’s additional DG and incharge of airport sector. The hike for international passengers could be about Rs 40.

CISF DG Rajesh Ranjan on Thursday during the force’s annual press meet did not give the amount of dues from airports. “Airport operators are gradually paying. A decision (on PSF hike) is in fairly advanced stage,” he said. Last July, airports owed CISF about Rs 1,000 crore with nearly 80% of the dues being from Delhi Airport alone. Despite repeated attempts, CISF did not state the current dues from airports.

The force estimates that growing air travel and opening of new airports and terminals will mean nearly 20,030 personnel will be required at those places. “CISF will be deployed at three airports in Jammu and Kashmir (Srinagar, Jammu and Leh) very soon. The aviation ministry has given its approval for this and approval from home ministry is at an advanced stage. Once that happens, CISF will be at these three airports,” Ranjan said.

CISF is now looking at ways to provide cost-effective security cover at the small airports that will get regional connectivity scheme (RCS) flights. “Instead of an airport-centric focus at other places, we are looking at an aircraft-centric security cover for RCS airports which will help cut costs for airport operators,” said Ganapathy, CISF’s airport sector chief.

The paramilitary force is looking at technological advancements to both improve passenger experience and speed up processes to increase throughput at infra-starved Indian airports. These include: providing 1,000 body-wearable cameras to security personnel; beginning remote screening of hand baggage at Mumbai and Hyderabad; and starting digi yatra at Bangalore. “Under remote screening, the screeners will be seated in a separate location where they can view contents of hand/cabin bags with unhindered attention. Once they flag a bag with suspicious contents, the automatic tray retrieval system (ATRS) will ensure these bags are not picked up by passenger and goes for physical checks to our personnel,”Ganapathy said.

ATRS can scan boarding cards of passengers when they put their bags in trays for scanning. Hand bags that have been cleared will reach the other side to be picked by passengers. With boarding cards scanned, CISF personnel will know who the bags that need further checks belongs to and they will be called for opening the bags once the bags are diverted on the ATRS for this purpose.

“Stamping of hand baggage has been stopped at 53 airports, with Kannur with the latest entrant to this list. We are training 3,000 personnel for profiling. Some personnel are being trained to do security check of autistic passengers,” said Ranjan.