In a bid to avoid smaller aircraft from being used in terror attacks, agencies issue new directives including conducting special background checks on flyers and removal of the battery of the copter
For those who wish to take to the skies for a joyride, be prepared to face stricter regulations following intelligence inputs stating that terror organisations were now eyeing smaller aircraft to launch attacks on the city.
In a high-level meeting of helicopter operators of Mumbai, called upon by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Securities (BCAS) on Saturday, the newer, stricter measures were discussed including issuing boarding passes to flyers. Other key decisions were also taken to avoid any untoward situations.
As per the new guidelines, told to MiD DAY by several helicopter operators who were part of the meeting, boarding passes would now be issued to all the passengers, a rule which did not exist earlier. Earlier, when a flyer wished to use a helicopter, no proper security checks were conducted. However, now chopper operators will carry out background checks and then provide them with a boarding pass similar to the process followed while flying by planes. In addition to boarding passes, each passenger will also have to provide reasons for using a helicopter.
A leading helicopter operator added that extensive baggage checks would also be undertaken. "Further, another significant step, which has been taken is that as soon as the helicopter lands, the battery of the copter would be removed to avoid any misuse of it." Another operator also added that further security personnel would be deployed.
Over a dozen airports were put on high alert in the last two weeks. The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport was also placed on high alert on Tuesday after the Intelligence Bureau (IB) sent out an all-India alert that a small aircraft may be used to carry out a terror attack. Security was beefed up and checks were intensified. The alert came two days the 9/11 anniversary and two days before the anniversary of September 13, 2008, Delhi serial blasts.
In an attempt to make it safer, now each person wishing to charter a helicopter would have to undergo an extensive security check. Each person chartering a helicopter will have to undergo a security check, wherein a background check will be carried out and the person will also have to provide proof of identification. Baggage will also undergo an extensive search after which a person will be issued a boarding pass allowing him to board the chopper.