Questions are being raised about the security at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport after a handbag containing a firearm passed through the scanners undetected on Tuesday.
The security breach took place within two weeks of an attempted hijack of a Biman aircraft by a suspect carrying a toy gun.
On Tuesday, despite the scanning, no flag was raised about the pistol and bullets in the handbag of popular film star and road safety campaigner Ilias Kanchan who was flying to Chattogram from the HSIA.
The actor, aged over 60, told The Daily Star yesterday that he forgot about the firearm and put the handbag in the scanner.
However, he remembered about the pistol moments later and was shocked that it did not raise any alarm.
“Miscreants could take advantage of the lax security for evil purposes,” Kanchan said.
Kanchan, also chairman of Nirapod Sarak Chai (we want safe roads), said after he remembered about the gun he immediately informed the airport officials about it.
“I showed them my licence and handed them the gun following the proper procedure,” he said.
He added that he received the gun after reaching Chattogram.
Aviation experts said there were serious security loopholes at the country's prime airport and such incidents would earn the airport a bad reputation.
“Repeated security breaches at the country's prime airport would have an adverse impact on the country's growing aviation industry,” said MA Momen, former managing director of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
He believes that the scanner was not purchased as per the requirement or its sensor was not working.
An HSIA security official said the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (Caab) had formed a three-member probe committee yesterday to investigate the incident.
The committee will look at CCTV footage and records to find out how the incident took place.
The CAAB suspended the HSIA employee who was operating the scanning machine and served two others with show-cause notices, officials said.
Beni Madhab, HSIA deputy director, claimed that Kanchan's gun was “detected at the second checkpoint”.
“I came to know that he passed the first checkpoint undetected,” he told The Daily Star.
On February 24, a young man was killed in a commando action after he attempted to hijack a Boeing after boarding it with a toy gun from the HSIA.
After a primary investigation, five CAAB employees were suspended and one was withdrawn.