Chilean airline fined for flouting New Zealand immigration law

AUCKLAND – Chile’s LATAM Airlines has been warned by Immigration New Zealand not to allow a Syrian national to board a flight from Santiago to New Zealand.

The passenger was using a passport for foreigners issued by the Brazilian government, but LATAM Airlines incorrectly entered the man’s nationality as Brazilian and allowed the man to board, the New Zealand Herald reported.

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Even though the worker was then informed by telephone and email from INZ not to let the passenger board, he was allowed to do so.

The passenger was removed from New Zealand the same day he arrived in November 2015.

Authorities said LATAM Airlines breached Immigration New Zealand’s Advance Passenger Processing System, which advises airlines whether a passenger or crew member has the authority to travel to New Zealand.

Immigration New Zealand spokeswoman Senta Jhele said the conviction sends an important message.

“Where there’s been a significant offence, we look to prosecute. Since 2011, we have prosecuted 13 cases.”

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At Manukau District Court on Thursday, the airline, which was formerly called Lan Chile, was convicted and fined a total of $11,700 plus court costs for failing to comply with the airline’s obligations.