Thiruvananthapuram airport: Smugglers’ paradise

Security has been enhanced at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport which
is emerging as a conduit point for gold smuggling

Published: 15th May 2019 06:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2019 07:45 AM   |  A+A-

Gold biscuits seized yesterday at the airport

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Thiruvananthapuram International Airport once enjoyed the status of being one of the toughest airports in the country for smuggling rackets to operate. Being situated in the state capital, the airport is frequented by high-profile flyers and hence, security measures are top-notch.  This prompted smuggling rackets, especially those dealing with gold, to confine their activities to other airports in the state. However, the scenario has largely changed over the years and now has fast become a preferred route for such rackets to smuggle their goods.

The last financial year, April 2018- March 2019, witnessed 100 cases related to smuggling gold in the Thiruvananthapuram airport. 

The total quantity of gold seized was 48 kg. In the previous financial year, there were just 33 similar cases. And in 2016, only 17 kg gold was seized. 

“This is an open airport. The tarmac area is not secured and can be accessed by anyone, without authorisation,” said a source in the Air Intelligence Unit of the Customs Department. “Of late there has been increased surveillance from our side. Hence there is a rise in the number of seizures and arrests,” the official said.

Added to the existing circumstance, smugglers have successfully recruited staff working for various airlines. Several airline staffs were among those arrested for their part in smuggling. Most of them are deployed on the basis of contract and are largely underpaid. This financial predicament is exploited by the rackets. 

“The salary drawn by many employees range from I8,000- I12,000. This paltry pay makes them easy prey," said an intelligence source. Insiders said staff in collusion with the smuggling rackets get I20,000 for assisting to safely move about 500 gms of gold from the airport to the agents waiting outside.  “If one can successfully assist in smuggling out 2 kg gold, he can earn up to J80,000,” a source said.
Meanwhile, an Intelligence Bureau official said the Customs department has been very flexible which is one of the primary reasons why the airport has become a point in conduit for the smugglers.

Stay up to date on all the latest Thiruvananthapuram news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp