Airline crews to face scrutiny

– pilot accused of $5m customs breach
(Jamaica Gleaner) – Airline crew should now expect to go through regular searches at the island’s two international airports as the Customs Department implements more stringent measures placing them under the microscope.

The decision comes in the wake of Air Jamaica Captain Gerald Aarons who was found with several pieces of jewellery in his bags and pockets at the Sangster International Airport last Saturday, Commissioner of Customs Danville Walker told The Gleaner.

“In the baggage hall, the assumption of innocence may not be applied so readily to airline crew because of this incident.”
The goods, valued at US$120,000 (J$10.5 million), attract an estimated duty of J$5 million. Failure to declare the goods attracts a maximum fine of three times the value, in addition to the duty. So the perpetrator should expect to pay no less than $20 million in fines.

Walker said the policy would not target Air Jamaica employees.
He said up to Tuesday when he met officials of the airline, they had still not received an official report from Aarons.
“I met captains Morrison and Campbell, one is in charge of security, the other in charge of operations, and the Customs Department also plans to convene a meeting with the management of the national carrier next week,” said the head of customs.

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