Mangaluru: A retired director of Mangaluru International Airport received a hoax call on Wednesday afternoon, claiming that a bomb was planted at the airport. The call triggered a security alert and a thorough check was carried out by the airport authorities and the police. No bomb or suspicious object was found and the airport operations were not affected by the incident.
Hoax caller identified as mentally unstable person
The hoax call was made around 12.15 pm on Wednesday to the mobile phone of VV Rao, a retired director of Mangaluru International Airport. The caller spoke in Hindi and said that he had planted a bomb at the airport and it would explode soon. Rao immediately informed the current airport director, Rajesh Kumar Maurya, who alerted the security agencies and the police.
The police traced the call to a person named Ravi, who was staying at a lodge near the airport. He was detained and interrogated by the police. According to the police, Ravi is a mentally unstable person who had come to Mangaluru from Hyderabad a few days ago. He had no motive or intention to harm the airport or anyone. He had randomly dialled Rao’s number and made the hoax call. He was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act.
Airport authorities conduct thorough security check
As soon as the bomb threat was received, the airport authorities activated the standard operating procedure and conducted a thorough security check of the entire airport premises. The bomb detection and disposal squad of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is responsible for the security of the airport, searched for any explosive device or suspicious object with the help of sniffer dogs and metal detectors. The fire brigade and the ambulance were also kept on standby.
The security check lasted for about an hour and no bomb or suspicious object was found. The airport operations were not affected by the incident and the flights were running as per schedule. The passengers and the staff were not evacuated or inconvenienced by the security check.
Mangaluru airport enhances security measures
The bomb threat incident comes at a time when the Mangaluru International Airport has been enhancing its security measures by providing state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to the CISF personnel. In August 2023, the airport had procured and delivered a bomb suit to the Airport Security Group (ASG) of the CISF, which is used by the bomb detection and disposal squad to handle any potential security threat involving explosives. The airport had also handed over the first set of equipment to the bomb detection and disposal squad in December 2022. In addition, the airport had provided a bullet-resistant vehicle to the ASG unit in 2022 and augmented the existing barracks to accommodate the increased strength of the CISF personnel.
The airport spokesperson said that the airport management is committed to equipping the CISF with cutting-edge security apparatus and addressing the mandates highlighted by the civil aviation security regulator. The airport has also established a Vision 2025, aimed at transforming the airport into a preeminent hub characterized by safety, security, customer-centricity, and environmental consciousness.
Mangaluru airport witnesses growth in passenger traffic
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, the Mangaluru International Airport has witnessed a growth in passenger traffic and flight operations in the past few months. The airport has resumed its international flights to Dubai, Doha, Muscat, Bahrain, and Kuwait, as well as domestic flights to major cities in India. The airport has also added new destinations such as Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, and Indore to its network. The airport has also implemented various measures to ensure the safety and hygiene of the passengers and the staff, such as thermal screening, sanitization, social distancing, and contactless services.
The airport director, Rajesh Kumar Maurya, said that the airport is expecting a further increase in passenger traffic and flight operations in the coming months, especially during the festive season and the winter schedule. He said that the airport is ready to cater to the growing demand and provide a hassle-free and comfortable travel experience to the passengers. He also appealed to the passengers to follow the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines issued by the government and the airport authorities.