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Airline Fined for Failing to Obtain Clearance for Passengers

MEDIA Release
5 September 2012
Airline Fined for Failing to Obtain Clearance for Passengers

Argentina’s largest airline was today fined a total of $18,000 in the Manukau District Court for failing to comply with its obligations under the Immigration Act 2009 in respect of two Chinese nationals and one Tongan national who boarded flights from Sydney to Auckland in March and November last year.

Aerolineas Argentinas pleaded guilty to three charges under the Immigration Act 2009 and was fined $6,000 on each charge. The charges were for failing to provide passenger details to Immigration New Zealand (INZ), allowing a passenger to travel without a visa and ignoring a directive issued by INZ not to board a passenger.

INZ General Manager Peter Elms says airlines have a responsibility to meet their obligations under the Act to maintain the integrity of New Zealand’s immigration system.

“Passenger information is required to be submitted by an airline under the Immigration Act which enables Immigration to identify and risk assess the individual before confirming their eligibility to enter New Zealand,” Mr Elms says. “Our border systems are designed to prevent those ineligible for entry from being allowed to board aircraft offshore, well away from New Zealand’s borders. Upon receiving the passenger information at check in we provide the airline with a direction on whether they can allow the passenger to board or not. In this case that information was not submitted by the airline.

“This is a serious issue, because there are significant risks involved in people entering New Zealand when they should not have been allowed to travel here,” he says.

“This fine should send a message to the airline industry that there will be consequences when proper passenger clearance process is not followed,” Mr Elms says.

A new infringement regime took effect in July this year, enabling infringement notices to be issued for breaches of airlines’ obligations, instead of breaches being subject to court prosecution only. INZ has been working closely with airlines to ensure they have the systems in place to achieve compliance with the requirements.


© Scoop Media

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