Colombo, Aug 15 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s national airline carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines, on Tuesday said it had achieved considerable success in recent times in its efforts to crack down on illegal travel through Colombo’s international airport.
A statement by Sri Lankan Airlines said that many passengers had attempted to use forged or altered travel documents, often supplied by organized criminals running human trafficking rings.
“As the sole ground handling operator for all airlines that operate to the Bandaranaike International Airport, SriLankan plays an important role in detecting passengers with forged or altered passports, visas and boarding passes who are attempting to travel overseas,” the Airline said.
The airline also works closely with other authorities at BIA, including Immigration, Customs, Airport and Aviation Services and the Sri Lanka Air Force to thwart the efforts of these criminal gangs.
“In recent weeks alone, SriLankan staff detected five persons with forged passports who were attempting to board flights at BIA,” the statement said.
Human trafficking is a serious challenge for airlines around the world. When such persons evade detection and are discovered after arriving at foreign airports, the airline that carried them face stiff fines from authorities, especially in Europe. Fines range up to 5,500 euros per passenger (approximately LKR 900,000) in some European countries. Airlines must also bear the cost of the detected person’s return by air to his or her country of origin, are liable for the cost of detention rooms at foreign airports, and sometimes even investigation costs borne by the concerned authorities.
Sri Lankan said the airline itself recorded a 46% reduction in fines for illicit travelers in 2016, in comparison with the previous year.