Airline fined for not ensuring NZ bound passengers cleared
A South American carrier that allowed three passengers to board flights to New Zealand without first receiving their Immigration New Zealand (INZ) clearance has been fined NZ$18,000.
Aerolinas Argentinas was charged at Manukau District Court under the 2009 Immigration Act. The airline pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined NZ$6,000 for each offence after admitting that it had not supplied INZ with details of passengers and had ignored an INZ instruction to prevent two Chinese and one Tongan passenger from boarding.
Last July, a new INZ system was introduced, allowing airlines to be issued with infringement notices if they breached their obligations regarding the notification of passenger lists to INZ. Immigration manager Peter Elms said it had been the airline’s responsibility to maintain the integrity of the New Zealand immigration system.
He added the breach of obligations by the airline was a serious matter, as significant risks are involved when persons who are not visa holders travel to the country. Elms expects the fine to send a message to the entire airline industry that, if proper passenger clearance protocol is not observed, consequences will follow.
Passenger information must be submitted before flights leave for NZ, in order that INZ can risk-assess the passengers and confirm they are entitled to enter the country. According to Elms, the system is designed to stop those ineligible for entry before they board a flight and allow INZ to inform the airline if an individual is to be refused entry.
According to Elms, Aerolinas Argentinas did not submit the required documentation. Immigration New Zealand is dedicated to working closely with international airlines to ensure they comply with its regulations.
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