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British Airways Manager Flees to India Over After Running a £3 Million a Year Immigration Racket Using BA’s Check-In Systems

British Airways Manager Flees to India Over After Running a £3 Million a Year Immigration Racket Using BA’s Check-In Systems

people standing in front of a check in counter

A British Airways manager at Heathrow Airport has allegedly fled to India after being accused of running a £3 million per year immigration racket using BA’s check-in systems to fraudulently clear passengers to fly to destinations they had no right to enter.

The 24-year-old unnamed suspect charged passengers as much as £25,000 per person to clear them to fly without the necessary visa or immigration documents to countries such as Canada, where they would immediately claim asylum.

The fraud was made possible because airlines are now solely responsible for checking that passengers have the correct visa or immigration documents before letting them fly. There’s no separate check from immigration officials until passengers arrive at their destination.

Normally, airlines are keen to make sure that passengers have the correct paperwork because they face the threat of big fines and covering the cost of repatriating ineligible passengers, but the suspect in this immigration racket simply didn’t care.

According to The Sun, the suspect would arrange for passengers to fly to the United Kingdom on a temporary visitor visa and then organise onward travel to a third country they didn’t have permission to enter.

The suspect would use BA’s check-in system to mark that the passengers had an electronic travel authorisation to enter their country of choice when, in fact, they didn’t have a valid visa to enter the country.

The fraud only came to light when Canadian authorities noticed that passengers on British Airways flights to Toronto and Vancouver would consistently claim asylum as soon as they got to the immigration counter at the airport.

Officials suspect the racket was going on for up to five years, netting the suspect millions of pounds in criminal proceeds.

Following an investigation, the suspect was arrested on January 6 and then bailed pending further enquiries, but he has allegedly fled the United Kingdom and could now be in India.

Police are still trying to trace the suspect and are working with their counterparts in India as part of the international manhunt. British Airways has terminated the suspect’s contract.

View Comments (2)
  • For how long was this 24 year-old South Asian BA employee/manager operating this scam/scheme? It shouldn’t have taken too many such incidents for BA to have figured out where the systemic exploit was taking place and who was the perpetrator. But BA management types and their favorites are too often less the brightest tools in the tool box than pretentious wannabe show-offs and choose to go along to get along when really they should not do that if they have true integrity.

    • It was going on for nearly 5 years? Wow. That may speak to the competence level of the airline management/employees and that BA wasn’t getting fined enough money by foreign governments to shut it down sooner.

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