Port officials have seized a record $1 billion in counterfeit goods coming into L.A. this year.
So when the American and British flag-carrier were accused of sending shoddy merchandise to a U.S. carrier to sell on “the black market,” the news was a big deal.
But now, two years later, the airline industry is in an uproar, with the U.S. government threatening to impose heavy penalties against the country’s carriers if they don’t stop shipping counterfeit equipment.
A British carrier called Lufthansa, was accused of shipping counterfeit items to Air Philippines last year — and its parent company, Lufthansa Group, was fined $250-million last month by the U.S. State Department for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
In August, the Department of Homeland Security fined British Airways $11-million for shipping “illegal goods from Iran to the United States” — but just days later, it accused American airlines, including American Airlines and United, of sending counterfeit merchandise for sale in the United States.
“These are acts of a predatory nature,” Transportation Security Administration official Daniel Berlant said at a conference in Las Vegas. “They’re trying to cheat the system.”
The Department of Homeland Security said it’s pursuing two criminal cases against U.S. airlines to hold them accountable for such actions.
The airline industry “will not tolerate, and will work to change, the practices that have resulted in this egregious behavior,” said the agency’s Transportation Safety Administration, or TSA.
“This is a problem that must be taken seriously,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said at the conference.
In July, for instance, American Airlines sent a $21-million shipload of fake merchandise for sale to Dubai, a source familiar with the matter said.
A customs official in Dubai told the news website Asia Times that the fake items included a $50