Sri Lanka’s National Carrier SriLankan Airlines says it has achieved considerable success in recent times in its concerted efforts to crackdown on illegal travel through the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) by passengers using forged or altered travel documents, often supplied by organized criminals running human trafficking rings.
In recent weeks alone, SriLankan staff detected five persons with forged passports who were attempting to board flights at BIA, the Airline said in a statement.
As the sole ground handling operator for all airlines that operate to BIA, SriLankan plays an important role in detecting passengers with forged or altered passports, visas and boarding passes who are attempting to travel overseas.
The National Carrier’s airport and security staff are especially trained in document checking, with training provided by several foreign embassies in Colombo.
The airline also works closely with other authorities at BIA, including Immigration, Customs, Airport & Aviation Services and the Sri Lanka Air Force to thwart the efforts of these criminal gangs.
SriLankan recorded a 46% reduction in fines for such illicit travelers in 2016, in comparison with the previous year.
SriLankan is targeting zero violations in this regard, but faces an uphill task due to the organized nature of the human trafficking rings that operate on a global scale. Illicit travelers include Sri Lankans and persons of other nationalities, who are usually attempting to travel to Europe, the Middle East, the Far East Australia, and even the North America, often lured by the prospect of employment in those destinations.
Many ignorant travelers are duped into paying massive sums of money to human trafficking rings who supply them with forged travel documents or documents of other people. In addition, there are also passengers who are ignorant of necessary valid documentation, expiry dates etc. and often attempt to travel abroad without meeting the required criteria.
SriLankan Airlines urges all genuine travelers to check the visa and travel document requirements with their travel agents or else via the srilankan.com website prior to making travel plans. (Colombo Gazette)