Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tighter flight e-ticket checks

The Union civil aviation ministry, alarmed by a 75 per cent rise in the number of people slipping into airports with fake online flight tickets, has asked airlines and airport operators to tighten entry checks.

The ministry has, until September 30 this year, documented 69 instances from seven major airports of people using fake e-tickets to enter security zones - mainly the area around check-in counters - compared to about 40 cases last year. Such violations are viewed as a major security breach.

Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport accounted for the maximum number of cases (27), followed by Mumbai (15) and Calcutta (11). Airports in Chennai, Hyderabad, Patna and Bangalore also detected similar unauthorised entries. Four of these airports are privately operated.

"We have instructed airlines to introduce additional security features on every e-ticket they issue," an aviation ministry official told this newspaper.

"Airport operators - the Airport Authority of India and private operators - have also been directed to provide special scanners to security agencies that can distinguish genuine bar codes on tickets from fake ones while checking passengers at the entrance," the official added.

At present, e-tickets issued by airlines only have passenger details and the date of travel, apart from a unique passenger name record.

Another government official said in most cases, people who had used fake e-tickets to enter airports had come to see off family members or friends and had "luckily not posed any major security risk". Some had come to only see the airport and loiter around, the official said.

In most cases, the defaulters - if caught - were let off after interrogation and brief detention.
24/10/16 Sumi Sukanya Dutta/The Telegraph