Air NZ engineer arrested in the United States

A former Air New Zealand aircraft engineer was arrested in the United States after allegedly buying a restricted missile part.

According to the Fiji Sun, Fijian citizen William Gulshan Ali, who had worked and lived in New Zealand, worked for Eagle Airways New Zealand (a part of Air New Zealand’s domestic services) as an aircraft engineer.

He reportedly breached the United States’ Arms Export Control Act and has been detained since April 11. The report said that he had a business that bought and sold the aircraft parts, and a Chinese customer asked him to buy parts from the U.S. for US$15,000 ($21,883).

He travelled to the U.S. to buy the parts and had set to go to Hong Kong with them, but he was arrested. His Chinese contact in the U.S. has reportedly been under surveillance.

“William Ali is a former employee of Eagle Air, which operates a fleet of four Beech 1900D aircraft. His tenure was six years,” an Air New Zealand spokeswoman told reporters. “Air New Zealand has not been contacted by any law enforcement agency regarding any allegations against Mr Ali.”

The report, which said that Ali ran an unregistered private company that buys and sells aircraft parts, added that he sent the NZ$21,883 to purchase the items, but he did not know that what he was buying was controlled and prohibited.

Air New Zealand said that they have not been contacted by any authority in regards to Ali’s allegations.

He is expected to be charged this week.