Vietnam Airlines clamps down on smuggling | Halong Bay Airport

Vietnam Airlines clamps down on smuggling

Vietnam Airlines has vowed to strictly punish all individuals involved in a case in which a flight attendant was arrested by Japanese police for smuggling.

 Vietnam Airlines reputation affected

The Japanese media reported the case in which one of Vietnam Airlines’ flight attendants, Nguyen Bich Ngoc, was accused of smuggling stolen goods into Vietnam. Japanese police claim that Ngoc did not act alone, and would have needed cooperation from other staff members. One co-pilot and four flight attendants have also been questioned about the matter. 

Many people have wondered whether the low salary of flight attendants is the reason for smuggling. The monthly wage for a flight attendant is about VND20 million (USD952), on top of bonuses for fight hours and per diems. 

After the case surfaced, Vietnam Airlines suspended one co-pilot and five flight attendants. These individuals have been asked to explain their responsibility in this case, and might be brought to Japan for further investigation. “We are very sorry to have learned of these allegations. Our greatest concern is that it will be a blight on our reputation,” said a spokesman of Vietnam Airlines.

He went on to say that they try to inspect every flight, along with raising the awareness of staff about the problem. He also admitted that they have had to ask flight attendants to submit invoices and report all luggage they carry in an out of the country. 

“It has been ten years that the crews on board flights have had to declare all the items they brought into Japan. We assigned all pilots and head flight attendants to supervise others. But we have about 300 flights a day, so our means are limited. We need help from other agencies, such as the customs, to deal with this problem.”

This is not the first time a staff member of Vietnam Airlines has been accused of smuggling. In 2009, pilot Dang Xuan Hop was taken into custody in Japan and kept for several months in a smuggling case. The charges against him were later dropped, but he was suspended from flying for one year.

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