US air cargo firm fined for failing to screen for explosives
A Texas-based air cargo security company has been ordered to pay a hefty penalty after admitting it failed to comply with regulations regarding proper screening of cargo through George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, Texas.
Air Cargo Screening & Solutions (ACSS) pleaded guilty in June last year, admitting they made material false statements in relation to the proper screening of air cargo for explosives on commercial flights, said the United States Attorney’s Office in a press release on April 20.
US district judge Charles Eskridge ordered the company to pay a $415,508 fine which included the profits for the screenings they did not conduct. The company will also be on probation for five years.
“Checking packages for explosives, packages destined for aircraft carrying passengers, is vital to saving lives and protecting the national security,” said US attorney Alamdar Hamdani.
“Whether through significant fines or federal prison time, we will pursue those charged with such security who knowingly shirk that duty. Put simply, companies must answer for potentially putting lives and the nation at risk.”
The Aviation and Transpiration Security Act, passed two months after the September 11 attacks, mandates the screening for explosives on cargo transported on passenger aircraft.
To meet these requirements, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) established guidelines to certify facilities in the US that screen cargo prior to tendering it to passenger aircraft.
Pursuant to this programme, ACSS screened air cargo for domestic and foreign air carriers that travelled through IAH.
However, a comparison of records by TSA from explosive trace detection machines and forms ACSS employees completed showed that ACSS falsified records, claiming they had screened 100% of the cargo passing through their facility when, in truth, they had not, said the United States Attorney’s Office.
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