Mumbai airports on high alert after hijack threat

Airport security has been ordered to remain extra vigilant till the end of the month after an anonymous caller threatened to hijack or blow up a Delhi-Kabul Air India aircraft

If you are planning to travel by air this month, make sure you reach the airport well ahead of time. After the Air India office received threat calls in Kolkata and Delhi on Saturday that a Delhi-Kabul AI flight may be hijacked or blown up, major airports across the country have been put on high alert.

A high alert was sounded by the country’s top intelligence agencies to all airports after the threat call. File pic
A high alert was sounded by the country’s top intelligence agencies to all airports after the threat call. File pic

A senior airport official told mid-day that after receiving similar calls at both Kolkata and Delhi airports, high alert was sounded by the country’s top intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Aviation has ordered all security agencies to remain extra vigilant.

“The high alert will remain till the end of the month. While US President, Barack Obama’s visit to the country for Republic Day does not include Mumbai airport, officials have been ordered to stay alert till the end of January,” informed a senior official at Mumbai airport.

A similar high alert was sounded in October 2014, after the Airports Authority of India in Kolkata had received a letter warning of terror attacks by suicide bombers on Air India flights of Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kochi.

“These threats cannot be taken lightly. The Intelligence Bureau had already sent alert notices on Saturday, and the threat calls have added to the gravity of the situation,” said a Mumbai airport official.

“The hijack call was made to the national carrier’s booking office in Kolkata on Saturday evening, stating that Air India’s aircraft would be hijacked. The male voice spoke in the regional language (Bengali),” he added.

Cops probe threat call
A day after a threat call was received at the Kolkata office of Air India, the Special Task Force (STF) and detective department of Kolkata Police launched an investigation.

A special team set up with officials from the STF and the detective department was trying to track the number from which the call was made to the national carrier’s city office.

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