RAWALPINDI: The manager of Faisalabad International Airport has complained that the chief security officer (CSO) and his inspector violated Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)’s protocol when they allegedly entered the air traffic control (ATC) without permission.

The chief security officer (CSO), his armed guards and an inspector entered the ATC tower at about 12:15am on July 14 without authorisation, he said in a letter to the CAA.

The CAA has ordered an investigation into the allegation by the airport manager.

Irfan Mohyuddin, the airport manager, in his letter, available with Dawn, alleged that the CSO interfered in duty matters “with immensely arrogant behaviour and got into unnecessary arguments with the duty air traffic control officer (DATCO) that instigated an undue uproar.”

The air traffic control is well recognised as one of the most stressful jobs, requiring total concentration, peace of mind and a genial working environment. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) demands to ensure effective control of entry into all areas where air traffic control (ATC) operations are conducted, the letter added.

“The conduct of unauthorised access to the ATC tower is a vibrant breach of ICAO’s standard and station air traffic instructions, consequentially, it can compromise the flight safety,” said the airport manager.

Furthermore, the CSO of the airport is interfering with the work of other functionaries and the CAA, which are specialised responsibilities that neither a security officer can perform nor is required.

“It only creates hindrance in smooth airport operation/passenger facilitation.”

The manager observed that the CSO frequently visits the terminal building along with his personal security escort which consists of one guard but occasionally two guards are also with him in lounges with exposed weapons despite the fact that all arrival/departure lounges are in the sterilised area of the terminal building which is the safest zone.

He claimed that this activity makes passengers feel uneasy and unsafe, especially women and children. The norms of passenger facilitation set forth by the ICAO and PCAA are also violated, he added.

According to the letter, ASF’s lone employee, who is stationed at the very last counter at the departure lounges, is supposed to be unarmed but has been carrying a pistol for the past few days.

“This weapon is a constant threat and anyone may use it to meddle unlawfully or possibly endanger the safety of passengers in the lounge.

“It is recommended that ASF concerned quarters be contacted in order to cease this conduct which is against ICAO and PCAA protocols.”

The authority responsible for providing proper air traffic services (ATS)and conducting a smooth flight operation is the CAA director general or an authorised representative from his office.

When contacted, a spokesperson for the CAA said: “The matter has been looked into by the appropriate offices and their findings and conclusions, if shared, will be made available.”

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2022

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