JEDDAH: Fugitive businessman Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan to Lebanon via Istanbul is a “serious blow” to Turkey’s private jet industry, aviation experts said on Sunday.
The former Nissan chief was awaiting trial on charges of misusing company funds and understating his salary, but jumped bail on Dec. 30. He flew in secret from Osaka to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, and from there to Beirut.
“Smuggling this man from Osaka is an internal matter for Japan,” a Turkish aviation expert told Arab News. “But not checking him appropriately in Turkey is our own mistake, and compromised international aviation security.”
Turkish authorities are investigating a flight from Osaka that landed in Istanbul at 5.15am, and another that left for Beirut 45 minutes later.
“The pilot should notify authorities about everyone on the aircraft, and they should be checked in at the international transit section of the airport,” the expert said. “There are no exceptions.”
The private jet sector will suffer because of the breach of security, the expert said. “It will have big repercussions in the short term. Many business jets will now have to undergo a detailed examination once they reach Western airports.
“They may also have their flight permissions denied for a certain time because they have lost their prestige and reliability.”
About 100 jets operate in Turkey’s private aviation industry. “This incident will seriously undermine the sector,” the expert said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Ghosn was assisted by a former US special forces operative, Michael Taylor, now working as a private security contractor, who it described as an “expert in the art of clandestine getaways.”
According to the Journal, the Turkish investigation showed that Taylor and another man had traveled from Dubai to Osaka with two large black cases aboard a private jet on Saturday, the day before Ghosn escaped.