Owing to constant threat calls, Mumbai airport to remain on high alert till February

The nationwide high alert at airports continues even after January 26 celebrations. Airports in metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata are still on alert, with massive security presence. Two flights were delayed after a security threat on Wednesday. Around ten hijack alerts have already been received this year so far. Owing to the same, Mumbai airport officials revealed that the city airport would be on high alert till the first week of February.

The departure of Kathmandu-bound AI 215 and 9W 260 from Delhi were delayed on Wednesday after a bomb threat call was received. The Bomb Detection and Detention Squad (BDDS) rushed to the aircrafts and conducted a thorough check in the two aircrafts. Like the threat calls that Mumbai airport received, these calls two were received by the Delhi police, making it the second such call in three days.

According to sources, the initial probe revealed that the caller was using Voice Over Internet Protocol, (VOIP) to make these calls. Tracing such calls is very difficult as they do not have records and remain untraceable. However, the caller claimed to be from Turkey, explained a Mumbai Airport Official.

Jet Airways spokesman stated, “Jet Airways flight 9W 260, scheduled to depart from Delhi to Kathmandu at 1325 hrs, has been delayed due to a security alert. All 122 guests and 7 crew have been taken to the departures waiting area at the airport. We regret the inconvenience caused to our guests. The safety and security of our guests and crew is always our main priority.”

However, Air India’s aircraft 215 was declared safe, but after the boarding of the passengers had commenced, it had to be further delayed after another threat call was received for the same. The flight that was to take off by 5.30pm was further delayed.

Simultaneously, an Air Asia flight from Bangalore to Goa too had received a threat call. Officials from the Bangalore International informed, "Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru (KIAB) received a message of a potential bomb threat on the Goa- bound Air Asia’s I5 1721. In line with the airport’s constant commitment towards passenger safety and security and as prescribed by the guidelines laid out by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the aircraft and the baggage hold were thoroughly screened. Heightened security alert, which was implemented for Republic Day, continues till January 30 as directed by BCAS.”

It should be noted that Mumbai airport, last week, received four threat calls in 48 hours, though three of them were made by a mentally unstable man. One of the calls made was traced down to UP, with the caller claiming to have an input about possible explosion at Mumbai airport. However, the person is yet to be located.

“Owing to the threat calls made and the sensitivity of the issue, Mumbai airport will remain on high alert till February first week,” confirmed a senior Mumbai Airport official.

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