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API-PNR Toolkit

What is Passenger Data?


Advance Passenger Information (API) refers to a passenger’s identity such as full name, date of birth and nationality. API is typically obtained from travel documents such as passports (“interactive API”).


Passenger Name Records (PNR) are collected by airlines solely for their business purposes. PNRs contain information about bookings made which can include as little as a name, an itinerary and a ticket indicator. Accuracy is not guaranteed and PNRs can contain sensitive personal data.

What is Passenger Data used for?

Passenger data can be a useful tool for governments’ border control or security processing as it can help them pre-identify travelers and patterns. However, API and PNR are located in different systems and their transmission requires programming by the airlines, which can take 3 to 6 months for a standard API request and 6 to12 months for a standard PNR request. They also provide different benefits, which means that a State should carefully assess its needs before embarking upon a data exchange program.

Strong global standards and guidelines are in place to assist States. It is essential that States understand and follow them to ensure swift compliance by the airlines and maintain smooth passenger movements at airports.

New! API-PNR Toolkit

IATA, ICAO and WCO have developed a Toolkit which include introductory presentations and videos, dynamic checklists and reference material to help you design passenger data programs that are harmonized, efficient and valuable.


  • What is API, Batch API, Interactive API, PNR
  • Key Principles: Alignment, Cooperation, Efficiency, Single Window
  • Data Elements
  • Transmission Timings and Frequency
  • Message Standards
  • Modes of Transmission
  • PNR, Privacy and Data Protection
  • Benefits of Standard Transmission
  • How to Set Up a Passenger Data Program

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