It was quite a catch for officials at the Chennai airport who seized milk cartons, coffee boxes, in-flight meals, juice packets, cashew nuts, whiskey bottles and much more from an Air India (AI) cabin crew member whom they had been patiently waiting for following a tip-off.
Despite airline’s new chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani warning of strict action against those caught pilfering, not much seems to have changed in the national carrier. On January 27, AI’s vigilance officials had received a tip-off about a woman cabin crew member arriving from an international flight (AI 274) from Colombo.
When the member’s baggage was screened, vigilance and customs officials could not believe what they saw.
“It appeared that she had brought with her anything and everything she could lay her hands on inside the plane,” said a senior official. “She has been taken off the roster and an inquiry has been ordered,” said an AI spokesperson.
An official said, “She had operated the Chennai-Colombo-Delhi flight with a night halt at Delhi and did Delhi-Colombo-Chennai. She was caught after she landed in Chennai.”
Aviation expert Rajji Rai said, “Anything on board is company property. It’s high time Air India had a zero-tolerance policy on anybody caught stealing.”
The aviation ministry had informed Parliament of several cases a couple of years ago, which included a flight purser being caught by customs at the Delhi airport while trying to take out 372 mini liquor bottles from the aircraft and missing caviar tins costing Rs 20,200 from a special charter flight found in possession of catering officer among others.