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Passenger Data & Border Control Working Paper (WP/94)

The Issue

Airlines transmit data to over 70 States today, mostly in the form of Advance Passenger Information, or API, and Passenger Name Records, or PNR. In the last years ICAO, the World Customs Organization and IATA have developed a strong set of Guidelines to indicate how API and PNR can and should be transmitted. These are embedded in ICAO’s Annex 9, Facilitation.

Unfortunately, airlines are often asked to send data in ways that do not comply with the established Standards. Conflicts with data protection rules does not only impact the airline industry, they also impact foreign States and their citizens. IATA and its members understand that electronic data transmission can play an important role in pre-arrivals risk assessment. However, non-standard requests for data have the potential to slow down border management instead of speeding it up.

IATA’s Strategy for Passenger Data and Border Control

IATA has developed a Strategy for Passenger Data and Border Control which relies on a more pro-active approach to Passenger Data standards.

In addition to supporting States’ in ensuring that their new programs align with the global framework, IATA is now working jointly with ICAO and WCO to roll out a Campaign to raise awareness by States, in all regions, as to how best to develop an API-PNR program that efficiently responds to border control needs and minimizes the impact on the industry. This Campaign is underpinned by a Toolkit consisting of presentations, videos, checklists and a reference library which will be available free of charge to all border control authorities and all stakeholders.

What we Wanted from the Assembly 

On behalf of the industry, IATA is presenting Working Paper 94 “Passenger Data and Border Control” to the 38th ICAO Assembly. The Working Paper provides possible explanations why global Standards and Guidelines on API and PNR are often ignored, and proposes two avenues to remedy the problem: 

  • The first one is to request States to raise awareness amongst immigration and border control authorities of ICAO SARPs and guidance material dealing with passenger data – through the joint IATA-ICAO-WCO campaign mentioned above;
  • The second is to request ICAO to consider extending its auditing of the provisions related to Facilitation to include all those that are related to API and PNR transmission between airlines and States.

The Outcomes of the Assembly

  • The Assembly provided direction on critical areas in aviation security. To stem the proliferation of non-standard security data requests by governments the Assembly encouraged the use of ICAO global standards by immigration and border control agencies.
  • It also encouraged standardizing air cargo security regimes through compliance with ICAO principles; to work with states on capacity building where needed; and to encourage implementation of the Roadmap to Strengthen Global Air Cargo Security.

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