Airlines fined for immigration breach

AMY MAAS
Last updated 15:29 25/10/2012

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Two airlines have been fined for allowing foreigners to board planes to New Zealand, despite being told not to by immigration authorities.

LAN Airlines allowed a Brazilian passenger to board a flight to Auckland, despite the passenger being red-flagged by an Advance Passenger Processing system.

Cathay Pacific failed to carry out the correct checks on a South African man, who immigration authorities believe was trying to enter the country to work unlawfully.

LAN Airlines was today fined $9000 in the Manual District Court for allowing a passenger with an expired passport board a plane to Auckland from Santiago in December 2011.

Cathay Pacific Airways was fined $5250 for allowing the South African travel to Auckland via Hong Kong in January. 

Last month South American airline Aerolineas Argentinas was fined $18,000 for allowing two Chinese and a Tongan passenger to board flights from Sydney to Auckland.

At the time, immigration general manager Peter Elms said there was "serious risks involved" in people entering the country when they are not allowed to travel here.

In July this year, a new system came into place allowing infringement notices to be issued to airlines for breaching obligations.

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.

"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," Elms said.

Immigration is working closely with airlines to ensure they have the systems in place to comply with its rules.

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