Barcode scanners will stand in the way of trespassers at Delhi airport’s entry gates from next week following security scare over frequent incidents of people sneaking in with bogus e-tickets, a media report said.
Authorities are introducing the pilot project close on the heels of intelligence warnings that in the absence of a biometric system- the country’s most sensitive airport was under serious threat.
The airports in Bengaluru and Hyderabad will follow suit with barcode scanners at every entry point.
According to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), responsible for guarding all the commercial airports in India, 23 people managed to enter the facility with fake digital tickets in 2015, while the same number of incidents were reported in the first eight months, this year.
An Italian national managed to slip into the airport using a forged e-ticket to see-off his girlfriend, on the eve of Independence Day, when the area was on a high alert.
The man had a ticket to Moscow for August 16, but he changed the date to the 15th using a photo-editing software in a bid to gain entry. He was later caught in the check-in area.
The barcode readers will allow airlines and CISF to track the movements of every traveller who enters the terminal.
This step was taken after the security forces wrote to the Ministry of Civil Aviation regarding concerns raised on misuse of e-tickets.
“This system will register information of a passenger when he or she enters the building, during check-in process, after security check and finally after crossing the boarding gate,” a senior CISF official said.
“Movements will be tracked at every level and details will be shared with CISF and airlines.”
During the trial run, the scanners will be installed at two to three gates of the Terminal-1D building for domestic departure.
The development comes against the backdrop of deadly terrorist attacks this year at airports in Turkey and Belgium, as well as in Punjab’s Pathankot air force station.
The government announced a high-level security audit after the Intelligence Bureau and CISF flagged gaping holes in the system.
In July, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said the CISF had asked for uniform electronic tickets with barcodes as well as barcode readers at the departure gates.
Later, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security issued instructions to the airport operators to install 2D barcode scanners.
The scanners are likely to be installed at the departure gates. CISF personnel will continue checking printouts of tickets manually.
“Once this technology starts working flawlessly, CISF guards will not be needed at gates to check tickets. They will remain there to ensure that no one manages to enter without verifying details. Also, baggage stamping and security stamping will be done away with using the barcode scanners,” an official said.