Airline officials quizzed in visa row


The SriLankan Airlines office in Bahrain is demanding an explanation from officials at India’s Chennai International Airport as to how a passenger was allowed to travel here without a visa.

Indian housemaid Vara Lakshmi left Bahrain three months ago after her sponsor cancelled her visa and paid her dues, airline sales executive K V Jamal told the GDN.

She returned to Bahrain on Tuesday and was initially stranded at Bahrain International Airport because she did not have a valid visa stamped on her passport.

The woman, in her 30s, and from the state of Andhra Pradesh, claimed she was unaware of what had happened and travelled home thinking it was a vacation.

However, SriLankan Airlines officials allowed her to leave later the same day.

“From what we gathered from Lakshmi, she worked in Bahrain as a housemaid for a local family,” said Mr Jamal.

“We did not ask her for her length of stay in Bahrain, but she said her boss had paid her all her money and owed her nothing.

“But when Lakshmi left nearly three months back, she was under the impression that she was going home on a vacation.”

Mr Jamal said authorities at the Indian airport, from where she boarded her flight to Bahrain, should have checked her passport and confirmed if she had a valid visa stamp before allowing her to travel.

“She boarded a SriLankan Airlines flight from Chennai International Airport on Monday at 8.30pm Indian time,” he said.

“They simply let her board the flight and she reached Bahrain on Tuesday at 7.35am.

“During the passport and document clearance check here, it was found she did not have a visa.

“Upon inquiry, it was found that her visa was cancelled three months back and the time coincided with the time she had left for India.

“We made her board a SriLankan Airlines flight for India at 8.55pm the same day.”

Mr Jamal said such cases happened rarely.

“We have asked our office at the Indian airport to investigate why such mistakes happen,” he said.

“They should have contacted the travel agent who issued Lakshmi the air ticket because if there was no visa, she shouldn’t have been given the ticket.”