All airports to get four-tier security system, says official

Published November 25, 2015
A security guard is seen at the Jinnah International Airport Karachi.—AFP/File
A security guard is seen at the Jinnah International Airport Karachi.—AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Airports across the country will soon be equipped with a four-tier integrated security system to guard against any possible terrorist activity, Shujaat Azeem, the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Aviation, said on Tuesday.

Briefing reporters at the Aviation Division, he said the system had recently been installed at Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore by the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (Nescom), while a similar system was also being installed at Karachi’s Jinnah Terminal.

Benazir Bhutto International in Islamabad is next in line to receive the upgrade, which will gradually be installed at all airports across the country.

Also read: PM inaugurates integrated security system at Lahore airport

Learning lessons from the attack on Karachi airport, he said airport security had already been beefed up. The over 9,000-strong Airport Security Force (ASF), which used to be commanded by a brigadier, is now led by a major general, who has two brigadiers under him.

He also said that the Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar airports had been outfitted with a ‘VHF Omni Directional Radio’ facility, which is a radio navigation system for aircraft that enables them to determine their position and stay on course by receiving radio signals transmitted by a network of fixed ground radio beacons.

He told reporters that a CAT-IIIb instrument landing system, or ILS, had been installed at Lahore airport, adding that Pakistan would become the first country in the region to have two CAT-IIIb-fitted airports after the new Islamabad airport is completed. This new system, he said, allows aircraft to land in foggy weather, even when visibility is otherwise very low.

Mr Azeem said that PIA had to pay Rs3.5 billion as principal and mark up amount each year on legacy loans, and that it had lost Rs42bn in 2013 and Rs27bn in 2014, after recording a gross operating profit of Rs2.83bn in the first quarter of 2013.

The PM’s special assistant also said that cost-cutting measures had been initiated and certain key decisions had been taken. Closing operations on loss-making routes had helped save Rs1.2bn, while closing offline international stations had saved the airline Rs61bn.

He said the role of a ‘middle man’ in the procurement of spares had been completely eliminated, while a policy of zero tolerance for corruption was being pursued. He said as many as 302 fake degree holders had been removed from service and that all employees’ degrees were being verified.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2015

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