Airports go hi-tech, beef up security  

The move comes in the wake of growing air traffic and increased attempts of intrusion at airports. 

Published: 17th September 2017 09:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2017 12:17 PM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: In a major security overhaul of the country’s airports, the Ministry of Civil Aviation will prioritise installation of multi-layered technology system Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) in them. The move comes in the wake of growing air traffic and increased attempts of intrusion at airports. 
The ministry will conduct fortnightly high-level meetings on how to install PIDS. Top officials from Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Airports Authority of India, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and the ministry will attend these meetings.

Sources said the ministry wants to install PIDS in a phased manner, starting from 16 super-sensitive airports. Currently, the technology— with physical and covert detection systems, including taut wire, underground cable, CCTV cameras and radars—is available at only Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad airports. A patrolling track along the perimeter wall raises an alarm whenever someone tries touches the boundary wall. The Israeli system also has a special night vision to detect movement. PIDS is heavily guarded by the CISF, who are also deployed at watchtowers along the periphery. While CISF ensures security of airports and operates PIDS, responsibility for maintenance of the security system is with the airport operators.

PIDS was installed at the three airports in pursuance of guidelines issued in 2007 by BCAS, which made it mandatory for all airports in the country to have the security system. There are 76 functioning airports in the country, whose number is likely to go up once the government’s regional connectivity scheme (RCS) picks up pace. Earlier, CISF had raised concerns about PIDS’ false alarms “draining its resources”, especially at Delhi’s IGI Airport.

Delhi International Airport Authority (DIAL), the airport operator of IGI Airport, said the sensitivity of the PIDS security system has been toned down, which has brought a significant drop in the number of “false alarms”. A DIAL official said, “There were an increase in intrusion attempts which failed because of PIDS. PIDS used to raise an alarm when even a leaf fell, but we have modified the device’s sensitivity.” PIDS was installed at IGI airport around four years ago. 

The ministry has received a positive review of PIDS at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, where it was installed in 2014. Regarding PIDS at Hyderabad airport, a senior BCAS official said, “PIDS has been most successful at Hyderabad airport.” However, a senior CISF official said, “PIDS is a multi-crore rupees system, but it has a lot of issues. We want the system to be fixed before it is implemented at airports countrywide.”

Landing Unsafe
Sept 5, 2017: A vagabond tried to climb the wall of IGI airport but was nabbed after PIDS raised an alarm

Sept 2016: Two days after the Uri attack, a man scaled the perimeter wall of IGI Airport and roamed around the runway area with a bag in hand, unnoticed for half-an-hour

Jan 2015: At Mumbai airport, PIDS detected a man who was trying to sneak into the airfield and raised an alarm

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