FECL 05 (April 1992):
Last November, an Iranian who claimed asylum here heard through his family that the official who forged his passport had been arrested as a result of a fine being levied against Iran Air.
When a passenger arrives at immigration control with forged documents, or no documents, an official of the "offending" airline receives a notice, which includes the flight details and name of the passenger. Because of the high levels of fines, airlines often contest these notices of liability. British Airways now employs five full-time staff to deal solely with them. Some airlines argue that the name is insufficient evidence and want to see proof of the forgery - at least to help their staff spot them in future. So British immigration officers have started to send photocopies of the offending documents.
Most refugees have little say in which airline they take. "If you want to fly", says Peyman Nasr of the Iranian Association, "you have to take Iran Air. All the other airlines require hard currency. And if you need a forged passport, you have to bribe someone in the government to do it, becausebefore you can leave, they spend up to a week checking the details against their records".
Source: New Statesman & Society, 20.3.92