A total of 159 passengers arriving in Japan aboard a flight from Taiwan entered the country without passing through immigration or luggage inspection as a result of a logistic gaffe, the flight operator Vanilla Air announced Monday.
The incident occurred on Sunday night, when shuttle buses transporting the passengers of budget carrier Vanilla Air Flight 104 from Taipei took them by mistake to an arrival gate of Narita Airport’s domestic terminal instead of the international terminal, Sankei Shimbun reported.
Though the circumstances of the incident are still partially unclear, it is highly possible that the flight was mistaken for a domestic flight, after it was temporarily diverted to Nagoya’s Chubu Centrair International Airport due to strong winds before reaching its final destination at Narita at 9:45 p.m., Vanilla Air explained.
The incident was revealed when passengers on the flight contacted authorities after they thought it was unusual that they had picked up their checked-in luggage but had not passed through customs and immigration.
A Narita International Airport Corp representative said that they “have never heard of so many people arriving in Japan without completing immigration procedures.”
Vanilla Air said they have already managed to contact and properly process 110 of the passengers, while the remaining 49 are currently being contacted by phone and e-mail. Of the 159 passengers, the majority are Japanese nationals, the operator said, with only 10 holding foreign passports.