Dhaka airport security at risk: survey team | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:45 AM, February 29, 2020

Dhaka airport security at risk: survey team

Cites lack of fire-fighting kits, floodlights, poor CCTV coverage as reasons

Security at the capital's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is at risk due to a shortage of fire-fighting equipment, floodlights, and poor CCTV camera coverage at night, a key point installation (KPI) survey team found.

The team, consisting airport, intelligence, civil aviation, and fire service officials, conducted a detailed survey of the airport late last year and submitted its report to the home and civil aviation ministries in December, 2019.

A similar survey was conducted in April last year as well and the latest report said that the recommendations made in the previous report had been implemented only in part, putting the airport security at risk.

The Daily Star obtained a copy of the survey report that identified various security loopholes. For security reasons, this paper is not mentioning the loopholes in details.

According to the report, there was a shortage of firefighting equipment in cargo village and export area. The report termed the areas to be at risk.

Many tall buildings have been built close to the airport which also threaten airport security. The report mentioned that the previous survey had pointed out the issue, but nothing had been done in this regard.

It strongly recommended installation of cameras in the asphalt at four gates so that vehicles entering the airport could be scanned from underneath.

The team in the report said they in 2012 recommended stopping movement of people on the embankment in Baunia and building an underpass or tunnel there but nothing had been done since then.

The confidential report also said a huge number of people go to Baunia area to see planes land and take off from Runway 14 and at night some use lasers. All of these are threats to pilots, planes and airport security.

There were dark areas in the 1,298-acre airport as the 57 floodlights could not cover every corner, it said, adding that CCTV coverage was also inadequate and many of them did not have night vision capabilities.

It recommended installation of night-vision CCTV cameras at a number of places and those be monitored strictly.

The report said there were many bushes inside the airport that prevent security officials from seeing far away. It recommended trimming them at regular intervals.

Mahbub Ali, state minister of civil aviation and tourism ministry, told The Daily Star that they were trying to overcome the situation and took many initiatives to beef up security at the airport.

"We will not tolerate any sort of negligence of duty. Professionalism is must. No compromise on security of airport will be tolerated," he said.

Captain Sajjadul Haq, former general secretary of Bangladesh Pilot Association, said the airport seems poorly illuminated but as the airport extension project was going on, hopefully things would improve.

He said lasers were very dangerous as a pilot could be temporarily blinded by them during approach. He recommended people be made aware of the matter.

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