In a major embarrassment for Air India (AI), the customs department has informed the national carrier that its pilots and hostesses must go through customs checks after two of its crew members were caught smuggling three kg of gold at Mumbai airport.
“Pilots and cabin crew of Air India are posing significant security risk by exiting the Mumbai Airport without customs check,” the customs department told AI. A senior official confirmed that the two AI crew members, Nihal Prajapati and Sidhesh Patil, were recently caught allegedly smuggling gold worth more Rs. 78 lakh on a domestic flight.
In a communication sent on Tuesday, assistant commissioner of the customs department’s Air Intelligence Unit conveyed to AI that its pilots and crew members do not go through customs check while exiting Terminal 2 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The department had directed AI to ensure that its crew members and pilots conform to procedures at the airport saying any deviation would be viewed seriously, sources