With intelligence inputs citing a grave terror threat to the airport, and the same getting authenticated in past few weeks via different terror e-mails, security agencies conducted a mock drill yesterday to ensure that the airport is well-equipped to deal with any menace to security.
On Friday afternoon, security agencies Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), and the state police, in conjunction with the airport staff - conducted the mock anti-hijack exercise at the secondary runway of Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).
A passenger bus posed as an aircraft, with CISF, BCAS and MIAL staff enacting as passengers, crew and hijackers.
The drills at the airport are usually conducted once every year. After the last one was conducted in December 2010, the next was scheduled for November-December this year. But the delicacy of the situation necessitated expediting the exercise.
"Over the past few weeks, we have been receiving e-mails from different terror groups which maintain that they will target different airports. The mock drill was not scheduled.
But in the midst of the threats, we decided to conduct it early this time," a top BCAS official from Delhi said.
The official also revealed that the decision was taken after Home Minister P Chidambaram met CM Prithviraj Chavan last Monday, for a security review.
"As part of a security initiative, MIAL conducted a Mock Anti-Hijack Exercise at CSIA on Friday. The operation was chaired by the state's additional chief secretary (home) Umesh Sarangi, who is the chairman for Aerodrome Committee," an MIAL spokesperson said.
CSIA was placed on the alert last Tuesday, after Intelligence Bureau sent out an all-India alert that a small aircraft may be used to carry out a terror attack.
The alert came two days after the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and on the third anniversary of the 9/13 Delhi serial blasts.
The permission related to chopper joyrides, flower drop services from Juhu airport had been cancelled on September 11, the final day of Ganpati immersion.