The explosions in the departure hall of Brussels Airport on Tuesday with fourteen people being killed at Zaventem Airport and a bomb attack on the Brussels metro system killing 20 others is still a matter being debated over.
But luckily it has prompted other countries to tighten airport security and raised questions about how soon passengers should be screened when entering terminals.
What is the globe’s take on it?
Several countries have tightened the airport security following twin explosions at Brussels Airport, as Australian Prime Minister blamed Europe’s porous borders and lax security for the attack. Security was tighter at airports around Asia on Wednesday, with South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and India deploying additional resources at the major hubs. New measures included increased checks on those who were entering terminals and additional patrols within the terminal buildings. In the United States, the country’s largest cities were placed on high alert and the National Guard was called in to increase security at New York City’s two airports.
Is India lacking Airport Security?
In India, where airport security is tighter than in most parts of Asia, only passengers with a valid flight ticket and passports were allowed to enter the terminal buildings before Tuesday’s attacks. The attack at Brussels airport has exposed a major aperture in the security at Indian airports. Passenger bags are checked only after they are checked in and handbags are checked much later at the security-frisking area. This means a passenger can take anything inside a terminal right up to the check-in and security check area. After Brussels, the country has begun to check some of the bags that the passengers bring into the terminals.
The only difference between Indian and most western airports is that here only a passenger is allowed into terminals. In Europe and America, on the other hand, anyone can go up to the checkin area. When asked whether checking of luggage prior to entry into the airport building, a procedure currently followed at Srinagar airport in view of heightened threat, would be considered to further secure Indian airports. There are three types of security systems at airports globally.
The most stringent is “concourse plan” under which passenger and baggage screening happens before entering terminals. This is followed in places like Israel, Srinagar and Jammu.
The second is “security hold area” plan under which passengers are screened after check-in and before being allowed to go to the boarding gate area. This is the most commonly used system both globally and in India.
The third is “boarding gate” plan where passengers are screened just before boarding plane. “A security system is chosen depending on the threat perception of a place. India has a very high threat perception yet why we allow anyone to take anything inside terminal buildings without screening.
Before the Mishap-
- The Public airport areas in Western Europe contrasts with some in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where travellers’ documents and belongings are checked before they are allowed to enter the airport building.
- In Turkey, passengers and bags are screened on entering the terminal and again after check-in. Moscow also checks people at terminal entrances.
- Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport is known for its tough security, including passenger profiling to identify those viewed as suspicious, bomb sniffing devices and questioning of each individual traveller.
- In the Kenyan capital Nairobi, where authorities are on high alert for attacks by Somali-based al Shabaab militants, passengers have to get out of their cars, which are then searched, at a checkpoint a kilometre from the main terminal.
But there can be a flip to such security measures that adding checks such as bag X-rays at terminal entrances could themselves create a potential target. Let us know what are your thoughts about it at the comment section below! Till then, ED wishes everyone a safe journey.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.