Confusion and mayhem: airline passengers arriving in Australia to face substantial delays due to tough new duty-free and tobacco rules

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on September 3, 2012

Visitors to Australia are being warned to expect delays at airports around the country after new duty-free tobacco restrictions were brought in.

Passengers have been warned about customs officials seeking to enforce the fresh regulations - which give passengers the right to enter Australia with two cartons of cigarettes only. The new rules, which officially came into full force on Saturday, see the cigarette allowance cut down to ten packs and also limit all inbound passengers to only 100gs of tobacco, reduced from 250g.

Increased bag searches should be expected by those travelling through Australian airports, and  the country’s Tourism Transport Forum has predicted how “confusion and mayhem” might ensue. The Forum said that 400,000 cartons’ worth of cigarettes are likely to be seized at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport before Christmas.

Experts in the travel industry have blasted the Australian government for introducing the restrictions too quickly; requests were made for the action to be shelved until early 2013. Caroline Wilkie, the Australian Airports Association’s chief executive, commented that travellers have already been suffering increased delays when entering Australia due to a series of key international airports making cuts to customs staff last year.

Mrs Wilkie concluded by adding that an ill-considered date for bringing in cuts to duty-free tobacco allowances will no doubt make a situation that is already dire even more disastrous. According to sources, many international passengers from Asian countries are yet to receive any warning of the Australian government’s new rules.

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