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Airline Fined Over Boarding Unauthorised Passenger

23 MAY 2016

Airline Fined Over Boarding Unauthorised Passenger

An airline has been prosecuted for allowing a passenger who had previously been deported from New Zealand to fly back here - despite being told three times not to let him board the flight.

At Manukau District Court today Jetstar Airways was convicted and fined a total of $12,000 for failing to comply with the airline’s obligations under the Immigration Act 2009. The maximum sentence is a fine of $50,000. The airline had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Approval for an airline to bring a passenger to New Zealand is obtained through Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) Advance Passenger Processing (APP) system, which advises airlines whether a passenger is allowed to board or not.

The Jetstar check-in agent at Bangkok airport entered the Chilean passenger’s name three times into the APP system and each time it returned a DO NOT BOARD directive. The check-in agent then put an incorrect spelling of the name in the system, which returned a directive to board with outward ticket.

INZ’s National Manager, Border, Senta Jehle, says this is the second time the airline has been prosecuted for not meeting its requirements under the Immigration Act. Jetstar was also issued with 339 infringement notices between July 2012 and February 2016 for breaching the Immigration Act, including 14 in relation to failing to comply with a do not board directive.

“This case is particularly serious as the passenger was the subject of a deportation order in 2014 which excluded him from returning to New Zealand for a period of five years,” Ms Jehle says. “An alert was in place to prevent him from travelling to New Zealand and the airline totally ignored the alert and the instruction from INZ.

“INZ takes this type of offending very seriously as airlines have a crucial role to play in maintaining the integrity of New Zealand’s immigration system and keeping the border secure. We work very closely with airlines to help this happen and it’s very disappointing that we’ve had no alternative in this case but to take prosecution action.”

The passenger was removed from New Zealand the following day.

ENDS

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