Japanese budget airline Vanilla Air said Monday that 10 passengers on one of its flights from Hong Kong entered Japan without going through immigration due to misguidance at Narita Airport on Sunday night.
The company had contacted the 10 passengers by Monday evening and requested them to clear immigration at the airport.
The transport ministry issued a strong warning to the airline and demanded it report the cause and preventive measures to the ministry by Friday.
This is the second time that Vanilla Air has been given such a warning by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry after a similar incident in April last year, when a total of 159 passengers from Taiwan entered the country without passing immigration clearance due to its mishandling at the airport.
"I believe preventive measures have worked well, but I feel very responsible that it has occurred for a second time," Vanilla Air President Katsuya Goto said at a press conference in Tokyo.
After the flight arrived at 10:13 p.m. Sunday, a total of 169 passengers got on three buses from the plane to an airport terminal.
But a 63-year-old driver of one of them mistakenly took its 34 passengers to an arrival gate for domestic flights instead of that for international flights, according to the air carrier.
The mistake surfaced after some of the passengers told a staffer at the terminal building that they did not go through immigration procedures.
Of the 34 passengers, 24 cleared immigration, customs and quarantine after being notified by Vanilla Air and other staff, but the remaining 10 entered Japan without going through the necessary procedures.
The budget airline was unaware of the mishandling until it was reported by the passengers, as no staff from the airline was on the bus, it said.© KYODO