Airline fined for letting Syrian fly to New Zealand

 It's the third time LATAM Airlines has been prosecuted for immigration offences.
It's the third time LATAM Airlines has been prosecuted for immigration offences. Photo credit: File

An airline has been prosecuted for allowing a Syrian man to board a flight to New Zealand - despite being told by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) not to do so.

The passenger was a Syrian who attempted to fly to New Zealand from Chile in 2015. An airline needs to enter a passenger's information into INZ's system, which tells them if the passenger is allowed to board. This prevents any people with security issues from travelling to New Zealand.

However the LATAM Airlines check-in agent at Santiago airport incorrectly entered the passenger's nationality as Brazilian.

Even though the agent was then informed by INZ not to allow the passenger to board, he was allowed to do so. The passenger was removed from New Zealand on the day he arrived.

INZ's national border manager Senta Jehle says this is the third 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 vital role to play in maintaining the integrity of New Zealand's immigration system and keeping the border secure," Ms Jehle says.

"In this case the airline completely ignored the instruction from INZ not to board the passenger and we were left with no alternative but to take prosecution action."

LATAM Airlines was convicted and fined a total of $11,700 plus court costs at the Manukau District Court on Thursday.

LATAM Airlines was also issued with 590 infringement notices between July 2012 and May 2017 for breaching the Immigration Act, including seven in relation to failing to comply with a do not board directive.

Newshub.