Confusion at Kempegowda Airport sees international arrivals almost bypass security

Exterior view of Kempegowda Airport, Bengaluru.
Photo Credit: Ank Kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

In a bizarre incident coming out of Kempegowda International Airport (KIAL), Bengaluru India, around 30 international passengers who arrived on Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 173 were accidentally dropped by a bus at the Domestic arrivals gate.

It was only when these passengers had made their way to the “Baggage claim” area that the error was brought to the attention of the airport authorities. AviationSource writer Gaurav Gowda reports.

No immigration check-in process

This is a very serious security lapse as any passenger who had no checked-in luggage would have walked straight out of the terminal without any immigration process. This would have effectively constituted a lapse in national security.

Flight UL 173 departed from Colombo International Airport at 1:16am IST and arrived at Bengaluru International airport at 02:30am IST. The flight was operated by an Airbus A320-200 which was around 18.3 years old during the time of this flight.

Usually, international passengers are made to alight using the aero bridge at the airport, but in this instance a few passengers were de-boarded and had to use a coach to reach the terminal.

Now this is where the entire confusion happened – instead of taking the passengers to the international arrival gate, the driver instead took the coach to the domestic arrivals.

Passengers, who weren’t aware of this mix up, de-boarded the bus and moved directly towards the baggage claim area.

Up until this time, no airport official was aware of this mix up, and only when the passengers had entered the baggage claim area were the authorities alerted about the mix-up.

As a result, a terminal operations team rushed to the spot while CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) and Immigration officers were alerted about this lapse in security.


Eventually, all the passengers were then moved towards the international arrivals where they went through immigration and were able to exit the airport.

Airport statement

KIAL said in a statement, “On March 17, 30 passengers who travelled on Sri Lankan Airlines UL 173 were erroneously dropped at the domestic arrival’s bus gate of BLR Airport instead of international arrivals bus gate.”

“These passengers entered the domestic baggage claim area, The Terminal Operations team along with CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) and Immigration were alerted, and the passengers were immediately moved to the international arrivals for immigration.”

“After that the passengers proceeded to the international baggage claim area,” the statement continued.

It also stated further that the cause of this mistake was “human error” and that the airport is taking necessary precautions to ensure such incident doesn’t take place again.

In another update coming out of Kempegowda International airport Bengaluru, Vistara India’s full-service carrier is now shifting its operations from new T2 terminal of KIAL effective 26 March 2023.

This first phase of T2 will handle up 25 million passengers annually and Vistara will become the third airline after Star Air & Air Asia India to commence its operations from the new T2 terminal.

 Our review of the terminal can be found here – do check it out to learn more about this new terminal.

By AviationSource News 4 Min Read
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