After the alleged hijack attempt aboard Indigos Delhi-bound flight last week exposed the lack of preparedness to deal with the situation,Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar on Saturday chaired a high-level meeting to review the response mechanism of various organisations involved in case of an emergency.
At the meeting with the Ministries of Home,Defence,Civil Aviation,External Affairs and the Cabinet Secretariat,it was decided that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of all concerned agencies needed to be updated and information flow and decision-making processes streamlined.
After todays meeting,the ministry is likely to take follow up action and all the SOPs will be revisited, Civil Aviation Secretary M Madhavan Nambiar said.
Speaking to The Sunday Express,a government official in one of the agencies responsible for handling the emergency response system admitted that there were several lapses in tackling the situation. The phones in the control room were not working. The officials concerned were not aware of the procedures to be followed, the source said. Moreover,they revealed that the most shocking detail was that a few officials were not even aware of the location of the control room.
It was decided at the meeting that the airport infrastructure prescribed for emergency situations is to be maintained in operational readiness at all times and special training needs identified for pilots and cabin crew to handle emergency situations.
It was,however,not immediately clear if the training would be conducted by the government or airlines themselves.
Meanwhile,all civil airports across the country are to have regular emergency drills and briefing programmes to handle such situations.
The meeting was also attended by senior officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation,Central Industrial Security Forces,Intelligence Bureau,NSG,Bureau of Civil Aviation Security,Airports Authority of India,Delhi International Airport Limited,and the Delhi Government.