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December 31, 1999
IA's training ex-chief calls for sky marshals
Commandos trained to tackle emergency situations like hijackings should travel on Indian Airlines and Air-India flights, Captain S T Deo, former director (training), Indian Airlines, and chief executive of the airline's central training establishment in Hyderabad, has said.
Talking to UNI, he said some foreign airlines, including those of Yemen and Israel, carry trained commandos on their flights to deal with any emergencies.
The number of armed commandos to be allowed depends on the size of the aircraft. They should be attired in civil clothes, he added.
Capt Deo said the thumb rule for pilots and cabin crew in case of a hijacking is to follow the captors' instructions, be patient, tire them out, demoralise them and wait till they lower their guard. "Also, the lesser the number of hijackers, the easier it is to tackle them."
The veteran pilot said that in no circumstances should passengers be allowed to enter the cockpit.
Apart from this, airport security should be intensified. "Many airports in the country do not even have proper fencing or boundary walls, resulting in encroachments and easy access to unauthorised persons."
Capt Deo said entry to airports even for staff and others connected with airlines should be subject to thorough checking.
Asked whether the CTE had any programme to train pilots and cabin crew to tackle emergencies like hijacking, he said there are guidelines in this regard. "But there is nothing like a simulator training because no two hijackings are alike," he added.
He said training of pilots and cabin crew covers security, including handling emergencies, use of codes and other ways of communication.
He said cabin crew should be instructed to keep a watchful eye on the suspicious movements of passengers.
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