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Airline fined over boarding unauthorised passenger Wednesday, 29 July 2015

An airline has been prosecuted for allowing a passenger to fly to New Zealand without getting prior approval from Immigration New Zealand (INZ).

At Manukau District Court last night Cathay Pacific was convicted and fined a total of $6,500 for failing to comply with the airline’s obligations under the Immigration Act 2009. The maximum sentence is a term of imprisonment for up to three months, a fine of up to $50,000, or both.

Approval for an airline to bring a passenger to New Zealand is obtained through Immigration New Zealand (INZ) who advise airlines whether a passenger is allowed to board or not.

Cathay Pacific failed to provide INZ with any information on a Bahraini passenger before allowing him to travel to Auckland from the Qatar capital, Doha, via Hong Kong in July last year.

The court heard that had Cathay Pacific provided INZ with the passenger’s details it would have been told not to board him as there was a pre-existing alert recorded against him after he was denied boarding on a previous flight from Bangkok in June last year. The passenger has since left New Zealand.

INZ Assistant General Manager Peter Devoy says this is the second time the airline has been prosecuted for not meeting its requirements under the Immigration Act.

“INZ takes this type of offending very seriously as airlines have a crucial role to play in maintaining the integrity of New Zealand’s immigration system and keeping the border secure,” Mr Devoy says.

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