BIA operating with sub-par security equipment

BIA operating with sub-par security equipment

BIA operating with sub-par security equipment

Written by Staff Writer

27 Jul, 2018 | 12:43 am

COLOMBO (News 1st) – It was revealed at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) today (July 26) that the procurement of security equipment for the BIA by SriLankan airlines, was marred with serious irregularities.

In 2014, SriLankan Airlines had called for tenders to procure three X-Ray machines and the recommendation was to select the Rapiscan X-ray system. However, that tender had been canceled by then Head Of Group Security for SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka Retired Major General P. Chandrawansa and a second tender had been called for.

This time, the evaluation committee did not comprise of any representation of the Civil Aviation Authority.

Director – Aviation Security at the Civil Aviation Authority P.A.Jayakantha testifying today said as per the National Civil Aviation Security Programme all screening equipment procured must be ones that have been certified by the Department for Transport UK and the Transportation Security Administration of USA.

Accordingly, in 2014, Sri Lankan Airlines had requested certification from the CAA for 02 Explosives Trace Detectors or ETDs. The CAA had identified that the equipment did not meet the national requirement as that the equipment were from a list known as the “Grandfather List “.

When a manufacturer submits a unit to obtain standard approval, the TSA and DFT first check the technology and include the unit to the approval list. Thereafter it is subject to a 24-month long field test and if it fails, it is added to the Grandfather list, basically meaning, it should not be purchased. However, procuring equipment in the Approval List is a risk that has to be borne by the purchaser.

The CAA has confirmed that the ETDs were from procured from the Grandfather lists. What is even more startling is that these two ETDs lifespan end in February next year.

When SriLankan airlines had submitted applications for certification, the CAA had only issues permits for one year which lapsed in February this year following the commitment made by Retired Major General P. Chandrawansa that SriLankan airlines adheres to the standards.

Yet, even as of today, SriLankan Airlines had not made a single application for re-certification and it is operating with equipment rejected by the entire aviation industry.

When asked if this situation poses a security threat, the CAA noted, as a result, they are continuously monitoring the ETDs.

It was also revealed, that Retired Major General P. Chandrawansa has used the security personnel at SriLankan Airlines and vehicles for campaigning in the Kolonnawa Electorate for Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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