NEW DELHI: The civil aviation ministry has asked airport operators to look at outsourcing non-core security works at aerodromes to private agencies, according to a senior official.
Besides, the ministry has sought additional deployment of 3,000 CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) personnel at airports.
These moves also come against the backdrop of domestic air traffic almost touching pre-COVID levels and an anticipated rise in the number of air passengers in the coming months.
Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal on Wednesday said the sector will rebound and "we will grow faster than earlier".
In view of the domestic passenger traffic nearing pre-COVID levels, he said that passenger handling capacities at airports have to be augmented.
CISF has been asked to augment its capacity, and airport operators have been asked to have more screening machines, among other measures, he added.
According to Bansal, airport operators have also been told to look at giving non-core security activities to private security agencies.
This is also expected to help in reducing the financial burden on airport operators.
Checking people before entering the airport, screening, and perimeter security are among the core activities at an airport.
Security at ground handling and cargo areas, among other places, is broadly considered non-core activities.
Bansal told reporters here that the ministry has also requested for increasing the number of CISF personnel engaged at airports by 3,000.
Currently, there are around 30,000 such people, and once the proposal is approved by the authorities concerned, the total number of personnel will increase to 33,000.
Presently there are 136 operational airports, and the count is expected to increase to 220 in five years.
Heliports will also be made operational.
The secretary said that domestic air passenger traffic is nearing the pre-COVID level, when it was an average of 4 lakh in February 2020.
On November 21, the number of passengers flown by local carriers was a little over 3.9 lakh and on November 23, it was nearly 3.6 lakh.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, scheduled domestic, as well as international flights, were suspended in late March 2020.
While domestic services resumed after two months, overseas flights continue to remain suspended.