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Airline Fined For Failing To Follow INZ Notice Not To Board Passenger

International airline Air Asia X has been fined $11,475 plus court costs in the Manukau District Court for allowing a passenger to board a flight in Sydney to travel to New Zealand despite being notified by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) that he was not allowed to board.

On arrival, the passenger was interviewed by immigration officers, refused entry and returned home.

In INZ’s investigation we found that:

  • Air Asia X had received the notification from INZ that the passenger was not permitted to board and that an immigration officer wished to speak with him before travel.
  • Air Asia X had directed their ground handling agent to intercept the passenger before boarding the flight to New Zealand.
  • An Air Asia X ground handling agent admitted that they had boarded the passenger despite knowing of INZ’s instruction not to.

The passenger was a Malaysian passport holder travelling to New Zealand from Kuala Lumpur via Sydney as a visa waiver visitor.

He was identified by a border immigration officer as a risk due to an adverse immigration history in Australia. The immigration officer had doubts that he was a genuine visitor to New Zealand and wanted to speak to him before boarding.

Air Asia X, which no longer flies to New Zealand, was convicted of a similar offence in 2018 and has been issued more than 100 infringement notices for breaches of its obligations under the Immigration Act.

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Peter Elms, National Manager Border, said carriers play an important role in the security of New Zealand’s borders.

“Immigration New Zealand works closely with airlines to ensure they are aware of their obligations and are supported to meet them.”

“Breaches of these obligations can mean people arrive in New Zealand who are not eligible to be here, and/or could pose a risk to New Zealand. INZ treats such breaches seriously and can commence enforcement action against a carrier such as infringement fines or prosecution when breaches occur,” Elms said.

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