KOCHI: In what could be a possible security breach at the CIAL, the air passengers who arrived here from Sharja on an Air India Express from Sharjah were taken to the domestic terminal instead of the international terminal and they were sent back to the international terminal when the security breach was brought to the attention of the authorities.
There were also reports that some of the passengers who reached the domestic terminal managed to get out of the airport without immigration clearance and other mandatory security checks.
However, airport and airline officials denied the reports saying that, when the issue was brought to the attention they were immediately sent back to the international terminal and allowed to go out of the airport only after the mandatory proceedings.
“As per the information we received, though there were some hiccups in the routine proceedings, all the passengers were brought back to the international terminal and they were allowed to get out of the airport only after the mandatory proceeding, said ACK Nair, airport director, CIAL. We have also launched an inquiry into the incident and action would be taken based on the report to be submitted by the airline,” he added. Soon after the incident, the driver of the ferry bus inside the terminal, P S Anoop, was suspended pending inquiry as he had taken the passengers to the domestic terminal. There were around 180 passengers in the AI Express and 44 out of the total 188 were taken to the domestic terminal. The passengers who disembarked on the domestic terminal created noisy scenes inside the terminal when the officials at the airport failed to respond to their call for baggage.
In the meantime, some of the passengers who did not have any luggage allegedly managed to get out of the airport. However, the airline authorities denied the report.
The issue also raised serious concern among security agencies as the Customs had arrested four ground handling staff of a private agency on Tuesday on charges of facilitating smuggling of gold through domestic terminal.
Saudi National Held with Live Bullet
A Saudi Arabian national was arrested at Cochin International Airport Limited for carrying a live bullet in his baggage while trying to board a private airliner on Wednesday night. The bullet was recovered from his baggage during baggage scan at the airport, as he was about to board a Saudi-bound flight at night. According to Nedumbassery police, the airport authorities alerted the police after detecting the bullet. Following this, the police recorded the arrest of Fonadsalehi Al Ahammadi. The Saudi national was part of a five-member delegation which reached here on May 30 on tourist visa. While inspecting his travel details, it was found that he had been staying in Kottayam, Kochi and Malappuram before coming here to board the flight.
Also Read Chinks in Security Come to the Fore