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Borders Home Office proposes fines for airlines and airports if passengers bypass immigration

AIRLINES and airports could face fines of up to £50,000 for failings that allow passengers to bypass immigration controls under proposals announced by the Home Office today.

Passengers arriving on scheduled flights must be directed to the airport’s immigration control to be cleared for entry into the country, but government figures show that, in 2014, just under 1,000 passengers were not brought to immigration control because of airport operator or carrier error.

The government is considering penalties following “an occurrence of any misdirection of a passenger or passengers where reasonable steps have not been taken to avoid it,” with fines of between £2,500 and £50,000.

The Airport Operators Association branded the plans unfair. A spokesman said: “It is disproportionate given the numbers of passengers involved and the industry’s track record in this area combined with our commitment to continue to improve.”

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