Private operators’ plan for aircraft security hits air pocket

New Delhi, June 14 (IANS): The plan of private airport operators to hire staff from the grounded Jet Airways for security-related work has hit an air pocket with the Civil Aviation Ministry mulling the issue of a clarification to its March 2019 notification that reserves these functions only for airlines.

Hoping that the government would open up a new revenue stream, one of the private airport operators had planned to hire personnel from Jet Airways for creating a new business segment of aircraft security.

“Some of the airport operators are misinterpreting the notification. It is clear that only airlines would carry out security functions related to an aircraft,” a senior Civil Aviation Ministry official told IANS here.

“If need be, we will issue a clarification,” the official said.

Aircraft (Security) Rules 2011 provide detailed guidelines for the security of aircraft flying in the country. The rules specify about the deployment of manpower at airports for security functions such as conducting a search before taking an aircraft to the restricted area.

Rule 26, for instance, sets out the eligibility for security personnel and guidelines for their training and certification before being deployed by the aircraft operator.

The March notification inserted a new provision which says that an aircraft operator will also perform security functions. 

“Provided that an aircraft operator may enter into a contract with an Indian Scheduled Carrier or an Aerodrome Operator for performance of security functions and engage for such security functions, the whole-time direct employees of the Indian Scheduled Carrier or the Aerodrome Operator, as the case may be, who meet the requirements specified in this rule”, the notification said. 

A clarification from the ministry will help clear doubts about whether airport operators can also provide security for aircraft. However, opening the area for more players would help create jobs across various airports in the country.

Following the grounding of Jet Airways, thousands of its employees are facing bleak job prospects. The scenario is worse for non-technical personnel who can find very few avenues outside aviation sector.