Three mechanics were caught having a few rounds of beer while on duty. Once again an open-and-shut case. But wait! What’s this? Some high company officials had French Bordeaux and Champagne shipped in on the planes, too, and neglected to inform customs. Oh my!
Meanwhile, their maintenance manager who had nothing to do with the illicit shipments had to endure the snickers from the union.
I stored all these incidents away in my head and took heed. When I became a manager, I was able to look people in the eye when they said I would do what they had done, too. I was able to reply that I did not, had not and would not. And no one could reach into a file and say, “Yes you did,” either. Unless a company’s managers have clean hands, they cannot control pilferage and outright theft.
The New York Times article also talked about the really ugly sister – drugs. Here you’re not just getting into criminal activities, but dangerous activities. Flying below the border or out to the islands presents a golden opportunity to some very bad people. They have the cash and, ultimately, the muscle to induce some to help them, too.
When my airline started flying to South America, we quickly found out how difficult it was to keep our aircraft drug-free.
It culminated for me when I had 5 kilos of white powder contained in plastic bags dumped on my desk. I was director of aircraft overhaul, and we had just inducted an L1011 into a major check.
While opening the rear baggage panels for inspection, a sharp-eyed mechanic noticed a string hanging from the beams supporting the cabin floor above. He pulled it and down tumbled the first sack of suspicious white powder. He called his foreman who collected the bags and brought them to my desk.
Our security notified the feds and we were swarmed for a short time. There was some difficulty about our “disturbing the evidence,” but our good intentions were evident and it was dropped. Also found, stuffed between a seat and the sidewall were several thousands in poor-quality counterfeit money. Why the stuff had not been picked up, I do not know. Bad business all around.
Customer service agents and a flight attendant are accused of using customer's credit card information to go on a spending spree.
More than 20 baggage handlers at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport have been taken into custody in an investigation into a suspected theft network.