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Flight control

  • Published at 02:03 pm August 5th, 2016
Flight control

What do you do when your worst nightmare comes true? The threat of terrorism has always loomed over this country, but the horrors which shook us in the past one month seem like the stuff you only see in movies or global news headlines. The impact of terrorism has never been felt on a such a grand scale, and now we have been shook out of our apathy. We never thought that something so horrifying could happen to us. And now, all we can think about is what is going to happen next.

You cannot blame people for being scared and constantly on their guard, and expecting the government to everything in their power to ensure such horrors would not occur again. And the first concern now should be to improve the security of the people of our country.

Different measures have been taken by the government to find out more about the terrorist networks that have infiltrated the country, and security has been beefed up countrywide. While some of these measures have been criticised for the severity of the restrictions imposed, one cannot deny that increasing security at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport should be the immediate priority. This week, we talk to some travelers about their recent experiences while flying in and out of Dhaka.

Heightened security measures and delays

Security at the airport has definitely been tightened. Witnesses have reported that airport authorities are checking all people more thoroughly, and none of the family and friends of passengers, who tend to accompanying them to the airport for the a farewell, are being allowed to go beyond the gates of the airport. According to reports, the overall security scenario at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport has also changed not just because of the recent threats, but also due to a recent takeover of overall security management responsibility by a UK firm.

Both incoming and outgoing passengers are now meant to be subjected to strict security checks, and many people have reported facing more questions from immigration officers. This was the case with Loma Mataika from Fiji, who faced strict security checks both when was entering and leaving the country. While she expected strict entry security checks, she was surprised at how long it took to fly out of Dhaka as well.

There was a super long line to actually enter into the airport when I was flying back home. Even though we went two hours early, we had to to ask them to let us go to the front or we would miss our flight. I didn't think anyone was rude or unusual though, but I did notice that there was a lot of delay and security,” she shared.

And I was surprised that after all this security, I still accidentally boarded the plane with a bottle of water!” she added.

Overall security or random checks?

While there are reports of long lines and greater security, there are others, mostly locals going to nearby countries, who have reported no delays at the airport and were not unhappy with the level of security provided. According to a local who recently visited Bhutan, he and his friends went through security quite easily, with minimum hassle. He was genuinely surprised at how easy things were, as he was expecting otherwise. Other locals who went to Thailand and India also reported of similar levels of security.

However, another foreign citizen reported that though she was slightly delayed by airport security, she had a pleasant experience anyway. Maryam Farnia from Iran said, “The security was high, but not crazy, frustrating high. Just a cautious high, and everyone was very polite.” But for security purpose, Maryam was asked to call her host in Dhaka, to confirm that she was staying with them. She also added that the immigration officers were all very gracious, and answered all her questions.

It is heartening to see that the airport authorities are trying to be gracious to our foreign guests, but Loma's experience with the scanners does raise some worries. We also have to keep in mind that since everyone is a suspect, everyone should be entitled to the same security process, regardless of their nationality and their port of destination.

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