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Security at all airports tightened after Biman aircraft hijacking bid

  • Published at 10:22 am March 8th, 2019
Web_-Strong-Security-at-Shah-Jalal-Airport-Focus Bangla
File photo: Vehicles being checked at security post in front of the entrance of Shahjalal International Airport Focus Bangla

CAAB authorities have taken the necessary steps to reshape the overall security system

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has taken measures, at all airports across Bangladesh, to ensure the security of passengers of both domestic and international flights.

Amid concerns over airport security—after the alleged attempt to hijack a Biman aircraft—CAAB authorities have taken the necessary steps to reshape the overall security system at airports, in a bid to avoid the reoccurrence of such an incident.

Confirming the matter, Civil Aviation Secretary Mohibul Haque said: “From now on, the people responsible for security checks will not be allowed to carry mobile phones while performing their duties.

“The decision was taken to ensure one hundred percent, and flawless, security at the airports. A letter in this regard has been sent to the airports.”

Also Read- Airport security misses Ilias Kanchan’s gun, one suspended

He furthered: “The security staff of the airports had earlier been asked to keep their mobile phones switched off while performing their duties but CAAB found it difficult to monitor whether the phones were actually on or off.

“Now, the security staff will have to deposit their mobile phones in a designated place ahead of starting their work. In case of emergency, the authorities concerned will answer the phones of the staff concerned and inform them.”

Additionally, the security staff will have to wear uniforms designed and provided by the authorities, he added. Earlier, CAAB instructed passengers of domestic flights to show their photos and ID cards while travelling.

The Biman Bangladesh Airlines aircraft, which was hijacked by a lone gunman midair, is seen on the tarmac at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong on Sunday, February 24, 2019 | Dhaka Tribune

The secretary said there is a rule to change the staff responsible for scanning every 20 minutes, and from now on it will be maintained strictly. Additionally, the authorities concerned will take the necessary steps to counsel the staff involved in scanning, to avoid errors.

'Toy gun, no explosives'

Speaking about the alleged attempt to hijack a Biman aircraft, Mohibul said: “After primary investigation, it was found that the suspected hijacker was carrying a toy gun and there were no explosives in his possession.

“Also, negligence of duty by the staff was detected in the primary investigation.”

Video footage showed that five staff members were not performing their duties with due attention while scanning luggage and frisking passengers at Shahjalal International Airport, Mohibul said.

“Already, two supervisors of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), and three Ansar men, have been suspended for negligence of duty in this connection. After talking to the crew members of the aircraft, it was known that the suspect was mentally ill and his intention was not to harm people,” said Mohibul.

Also Read- ‘Hijacked’ aircraft to fly for Sylhet Thursday

On March 6, a committee, investigating the “hijack bid” of a Biman Bangladesh Airlines plane, was given five more days to complete its task. 

“The decision was taken considering the sensitivity and importance of the matter,” Mohibul Haque said on Wednesday.

A man boarded a Biman plane with a toy gun and tried to 'hijack' it on February 24 at Chittagong airport. The “hijacker,” Polash Ahmed, was shot dead by joint forces.

The government formed a five-member committee, headed by Additional Secretary Md Mokabbir Hossain, to look into the incident the same day. The committee was given two more days, on March 3, to finish the investigation.

Speaking about film star Ilias Kanchan's passing the security check point with a bag containing his revolver at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, on March 5, the secretary said the authorities concerned suspended one of its officials—for negligence of duty—the following day.

Responding to a query, CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Naim Hassan said the authorities concerned have been investigating the incident and the on-duty operator Fazlar Rahman was suspended over the issue.