Monday, September 03, 2012

Warning over delays at Australian airports

Visitors to Australia have been told to expect delays at the country’s airports following the introduction of new restrictions on duty-free tobacco. Air passengers have been warned that customs officials will be seeking to enforce the regulations which allow passengers to enter the country with just two packets of cigarettes – down from the existing ten.

The rules, which came into force on Saturday, also limit inbound passengers to 100g of tobacco products – down from 250g. Increased bag searches are likely, and Australia’s Tourism Transport Forum said that “confusion and mayhem” could ensue.

It said it expects around 400,000 cartons of cigarettes to be seized before Christmas at Sydney Airport alone. The travel industry has criticised the Australian government for enforcing the restrictions too quickly, and had asked for the move to be delayed until next year.

“Travellers are already experiencing delays being processed as they enter Australia at a number of our international airports due to last year's cuts to customs staff,” said Caroline Wilkie, chief executive of the Australian Airports Association.

“This ill-considered implementation date for the duty-free tobacco cuts is going to make an already dire situation disastrous.”

No comments: