AirAsia X fined for letting unauthorised passenger fly from Kuala Lumpur to NZ

Staff manipulated the screening system to allow the man to board.
Staff manipulated the screening system to allow the man to board. Photo credit: Getty Images

AirAsia X has been fined $9000 for allowing a passenger to fly to New Zealand - despite Immigration NZ telling them not to.

The decision was handed down at the Manukau District Court today. The fine is well below the maximum allowed, which is $50,000.

The incident happened in February last year, when a Malaysian citizen managed to board a flight to New Zealand.

Airlines must legally provide data on every passenger booked on a flight travelling to New Zealand - that way, if there are any issues, the passenger can be stopped before they board the flight.  

The system used is called the Advance Passenger Processing (APP) system. It sends all passenger information back to New Zealand, where it is cross-referenced with an Immigration New Zealand (INZ) database.

If there's an issue, the passenger will either be stopped from boarding, or check-in staff will need to discuss any issues with INZ before a decision is made.

Stephanie Greathead from INZ said the check-in staff would have been well aware there was an issue.

When the passenger's name was first submitted, a 'do not board' message was displayed. Instead of following instruction, the staff looked for ways to get around the warning.

''The handling agent then made several other attempts to check-in the traveller and then submitted an incomplete name into the APP system, before receiving a directive to ''board with outward ticket'," Ms Greathead said.

''In this case, the airline has clearly tried to override the APP system and ignored any 'do not board' directives.

"This is completely unacceptable and is in clear breach of our border security measures and immigration policies."

AirAsia said in a statement that it takes laws and regulations seriously, and a thorough review has taken place. As a result, the airline says it's taken "appropriate corrective action".

The passenger was refused entry to New Zealand and was sent back to Malaysia.


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