Thursday, June 16, 2011

Indian Airports- Total Cover

June 2011
India’s airports are calling for an aviation security force writes Neelam Mathews

As India’s passenger traffic booms, a need to increase security measures at its airports is being increasingly voiced with the industry calling for an adoption of best practices and a dedicated aviation security force tuned  to the specific needs of the sector.

“Compatible and complementary security measures have a bearing on processing time, staffing, queues and stress. We need a unified agency for all security-related issues at airports,” says Gyaneshwar Singh, general manager security of Airports Authority of India.

Presently, only 58 airports in India are manned by the Central Industrial  Security Force, a paramilitary force that provides integrated security cover  to VVIPs and government owned bodies, while the other approximately  62 airports are handled by police and multi agencies. “The Bureau of Civil  Aviation Security (BCAS) is looking into this,” says Singh.

There are concerns that technology has not been adequately infused as infrastructure has grown. “The integration of security facilitation and design  (of airports) are not fully incorporated. For instance, have we designed for peak levels?......We must also remember to eliminate what is redundant, integrate cost-effective technology without any knee jerk reactions,” says Singh. A system that is not robust can always attract threats from airport workers too, he warns.

“Technology will leap forward in India where new private airports, starting  with a clean slate, are being built,” said Jim Martin, managing director, Asia- Pacific at transport communications and system provider ARINC.

Duplication of investment in technology can be avoided if airlines go for common-use solutions for the same equipment, Martin explains He expects the Indian market to be worth around US$100 million in the passenger processing domain alone.

It is also being recognised that surveillance and access systems should be technology driven and focus should move away from manual systems  prone to human error. India is presently looking at an Integrated Access Control in future. “If this comes, we’ll have a unified force for our security needs,” says Singh.

A perimeter intrusion detection system has been set up at Hyderabad International Airport with a similar project underway in Delhi, P. S  Nair, CEO Corporate (Airport), GMR Group. The system uses a use a thin, inert fibre optic cable as the sensor. The sensor cable is attached to the mesh of a perimeter fence or strapped to a wall, the system’s corresponding electronic Alarm Processing Unit (APU) then detects vibrations from any intruder climbing or cutting through the barrier.

The system is calibrated allowing screening signals from non-threatening events, such as wind or small animals, while optimizing detection of valid  signals from intruders. Intelligent digital signal processors automatically  compensates for disturbances from wind, giving a system that provides  maximum zone protection in nearly all circumstances.

A successful exercise was undertaken at Terminal 3 of Delhi International  Airport (DIAL) where as the master systems integrator, Unisys, developed  the standard operating procedures for the Airport Operations Control Centre,  testing the systems against business scenarios to give DIAL the assurance  the systems could support the airport’s operational requirements.

The US$2.7 billion terminal covers 502,000 sq. m. of space with 92 automated walkways and 78 aerobridges. The terminal is among the largest airport terminal buildings in the world.

Unisys was responsible for reviewing and coordinating the design, installation, commissioning and integration of IT systems delivered by 12  separate companies. These systems cover the full range of IT services required by a modern airport, including terminal-wide managed network, full CCTV coverage with more than 3,000 cameras, complete access control, public address system, flight information displays, check-in and boarding gate systems, and a fully integrated building management system.

“We see an increase in self service kiosks with embedded biometric authentication in India to make services such as passenger or baggage check-in quicker and easier,” said Sue Carter, vice-president, sales, Asia Pacific, Unisys.

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