Air Transport World

No entry; airlines are being fined and forced to house, feed and guard political asylum-seeking passengers, who 'lose' their travel documents. (includes related articles)

Fines imposed by immigration authorities increasingly ate a financial burden on the world airtransport industry. IATA estimates that those levied by the U.S. and U.K. governments together could amount to $60 million this year.

Nevertheless, there is some evidence that the industry is succeeding in persuading governments to recognize the limits of airlines' capabilities in performing what essentially are immigration checks and to ensure that where fines are unavoidable, diet are applied in a flexible manner and reflect carriers' efforts to assist in dealing with the problem.

Meanwhile, as the flow of people seeking asylum for economic or political reasons increases, more and more nations are introducing legislation providing for fining of airlines for breaches of these nations' immigration regulations. Some of die 30 countries that are imposing fines, starting with the two aforementioned, where the bulk of carrier breaches occur: U.K., $3,820; U.S., $3,000; Canada, $4,175 maximum; Australia, $724; Bolivia, $1,000; Brazil, $1,000, which may be doubled in case of recurrence; Denmark, $1,770; Germany, $670-3,450; Argentina, $350; Uruguay, $50-80, and Venezuela, 5-10,000 bolivars all figures U.S. except Venezuela). South Africa does not give a figure but says: "Considerable fines will be imposed on delinquent carriers."

The right of governments to hold airlines responsible for checking the entry documents stems from Annex 9 of the ICAO Chicago Convention, which states: "Operators shall take precautions at the point of embarkation ... that passengers are in possession of any control document prescribed by the Contracting States." However, it stated: Contracting State shall not fine operators in the event that passengers are found inadmissible unless there is evidence ... that the carrier was negligent in taking precautions to the end that the passengers complied with the document requirements for entry into die receiving State." Furthermore, it states that "Contracting states and operators shall cooperate, where practicable, in establishing the validity and authenticity of passports and visas. …

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