As security becomes pricier, flights get costlier
Looking at the increasing security threats, the Centre has decided to requisite the services of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to guard India's 98 airports. This will mean that flyers will have to pay more as airfares will increase with an imminent hike in passenger security fee (PSF). Currently, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) charges Rs. 130 from every passenger as PSF.
India overhauled its airport security in 1999 after the Kandahar hijacking. The paramilitary organization- Central Industrial Security Force became in charge of airport security. Airport Security Group was formed by CISF to safeguard airports. Every airport was given an APSU (Airport Security Unit) to counter illegal interference. Moreover, every domestic airline had to employ a mandatory security group looking after the aircraft security.
Rajnath Singh, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju held a meeting over the security overhaul at Indian airports. The ministry of civil aviation said that guarding airports was a 'sovereign function' and government should bear the cost. However, the home affairs ministry opined that some part of the security expenditure should be shared by passengers and airports.
In India, 59 out of the functional 98 airports are secured by the Central Industrial Security Force cover. 26 amongst these like Delhi and Mumbai are in the hyper-sensitive category. Amongst the hyper-sensitive airports, 6 such as Imphal and Srinagar are guarded by the state police, CRPF or other paramilitary forces. 37 airports under the sensitive category are secured by CISF cover.
The US too experienced a similar hike in passenger fees to beef up security. After the 9/11 attacks, Passenger Fee, or the September 11 Security Fee was levied which now stands at $5.60 for a one-way trip and $11.20 round-trip.