Airline fires two, suspends three of its ground staff over airport security breach


SRINAGAR, India – IndiGo airlines has terminated two of its ground staff besides suspending three more employees at the Srinagar airport for a week over security breach last month.

The security breach at Srinagar Airport took place on April 1 when a senior AAI official allegedly misused his position and travelled on a boarding card of his subordinate.

An IndiGo spokesperson confirmed the incident and termination of two of the airlines-employees.

Sources, however, said that besides sacking the two employees on Friday, the Gurgaon-based budget carrier has also suspended three ground staff employees for seven days and issued them “warning letters” for “negligence” after investigations found multiple security breaches by a high-ranking security official at the aerodrome.

Also, five other employees have been issued warning letters, the source added.

“As per the internal investigation conducted by IndiGo, it was observed that the official flew from Srinagar to Delhi on flight 6E-436, using the boarding pass under a name of Vimal Kumar, AAI official at Srinagar Airport.

“As per the inquiry, this passenger was observed breaching the security protocols multiple times, at Srinagar airport,” an official of IndiGo airlines said.

The official said Kumar had sent two of his colleagues (from AAI, based in Srinagar) to collect his boarding pass from the airport staff.

“Following the protocol, the airline staff inquired the two AAI officials to present the photo identity – which is the standard procedure to collect the boarding pass.

“The staff learned that these two officials from AAI were only there at the airport to collect the boarding pass for their senior colleague Kumar.

“On grounds of the verification process, the airline staff immediately refused to issue the boarding pass to these AAI officials and demanded Kumar to be present at the check-in counter to collect the boarding pass,” the official said.

The AAI officials then requested a “familiar person” from the airline to accommodate the request on Kumar’s behalf and “consider the cordial/working relations”.

“Based on the working relations with AAI officials, the staff agreed to issue the boarding pass, however the categorical remarks were inserted in the system against this request,” the official said.

After the boarding of 6E-436 flight, he said, three persons reported at the last minute at the boarding gate.

“These three persons dismissed the instructions given by the boarding gate staff and walked towards the aerobridge to board the aircraft.

“Before the official could board the aircraft, he was stopped for another security check point deployed by IndiGo security at the aerobridge.

“After noticing this lapse by airline’s security staff, the matter was immediately escalated to the concerned departments for a detailed inquiry,” the official said.

The official’s act to furnish boarding pass from the airline staff, “misusing” the Airport entry permit and entry into the restricted security areas resulted in a “serious security violation”, hence the two members of the staff have been terminated with immediate effect on grounds of negligence, the airline said.