The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which is like India’s equivalent to the FAA, is investigating Kuwait Airways flight KU302 from Mumbai to Kuwair for flying three passengers “off record” on a flight back in October 2009.
The Times of India is reporting the three extra passengers were relatives of a Kuwait Airways employee. The flight was overbooked in economy class, where the three had tickets. The airline’s policy is to not upgrade passengers to Business Class (which had empty seats). Instead of breaking the airline’s policies, the employee severely broke security policy to get them on the flight.
Official paperwork shows the three extras were “offloaded” on paper and their boarding passes were not scanned so their presence was not recorded. “After the three passengers were handed their business class boarding passes, the airline staff was instructed not to scan their passes so that their presence in the flight was not registered in the airline’s records,” an official said. The three were cleared through Customs and allowed to board the Kuwait Airways Airbus A300. Since the three were offloaded on paper, the trim sheet for weight and fuel distribution was updated accordingly. A pilot’s calculations for takeoff speeds and flap settings are based on the trim sheet.
This incident is a serious violation of safety procedures. Even though the passengers had to clear Customs, having three people with no paper trail is a huge security issue. With the right connections people involved in human trafficking, kidnapping, and terrorism could get people to a destination with no record.
Another problem is with the weight. The three extra people added about 900lbs to the A300 (the three had 15 bags — crazy). Although being off by less than a 1000lbs probably won’t cause serious issues, the pilot should be aware of the weight change.g4sp