Body scanners may not reach airports at least this year

Air travellers will continue to be patted down by airport security, as full body scanners may not be installed in 2022 in India due to bureaucratic hurdles. Although the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is set to float a tender, the financial approval from the department of investment and public investment board is yet to arrive, officials said, seeking anonymity.

The authority had in 2020 issued a tender to procure 198 body scanners for 63 airports following a circular to the effect by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, but the civil aviation ministry approved of buying only 98.

“After this rejection, the issue was revisited and accordingly it was decided that 131 body scanners would be needed for the airports,” a ministry official said. “Currently, the AAI is set to send the details for the financial approval.”

Each scanner would cost around ₹4 crore, including annual maintenance, the official said.
The financial approval is expected soon, an airports authority official said. “We will be sending the request any day now, and are expecting to receive the approval soon,” he said, declining to be named.

The airports regulator wants to install the scanners by December this year, which is a challenging deadline, the ministry official said. The AAI did not respond to HT queries.
“The AAI may complete the tendering procedure and issue the letter of award to the successful bidder by this year-end,” a former AAI official said. “Body scanners are heavy items and are made only on the receipt of an order. Looking at the status, it is highly unlikely that the country’s airports will get body scanners by the end of the year.