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Customs gearing up for busy summer at airport

Customs gearing up for busy summer at airport

Expected increases in passenger arrivals at Auckland International Airport this summer will be managed with the minimum possible disruption to inbound visitors, although some delays cannot be avoided, Customs Minister Rick Barker said today.

“This summer the airport is expecting a 36 percent increase in passenger arrivals due to expanded schedules for a number of airlines and the arrival of new carriers such as Emirates and Royal Brunei.

“This is a significant capacity increase and the New Zealand Customs Service and other border agencies are already working with airlines and the airport company on flight scheduling, additional staff numbers, layout changes and procedural efficiencies to minimise any congestion and passenger delays.”

Passenger numbers have grown steadily in recent years, particularly between 1998 and 2002 when inbound arrivals increased by 30 percent.

To help meet the continuing rise in passenger arrivals this summer, Mr Barker said Customs was employing an additional 30 staff to process inbound passengers at the airport.

“Customs is on the front line of New Zealand’s border control and the government is ensuring that the service is adequately resourced to cope with the additional growth in arrivals this summer.”

All international passengers passed through Customs checkpoints and Mr Barker said routine searches for prohibited goods would still be undertaken.

“Current information sharing with international agencies and profiling techniques is ensuring that people attempting to smuggle drugs, contraband and other prohibited goods into New Zealand are more likely than ever to be intercepted.” In recent months, seven people have been convicted and jailed for between 14 months and 12 years and four others fined between $1500 and $5000 for importing illegal drugs into New Zealand,

“This sends a clear warning to any would be drug importer,” Mr Barker said.

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