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Facilitation and Passenger Data

Facilitation is the concept of reducing unnecessary regulation and improving inspection procedures to expedite the movement of people and goods over international boundaries.
Over the years, passenger data has become a central part of the Facilitation puzzle, as more and more governments require that airlines transmit API or PNR data, too often in non-standard and inefficient ways.

New! API-PNR Toolkit

IATA has developed an API-PNR Toolkit in partnership with ICAO and the World Customs Organization (WCO). The Toolkit consists of a suite of introductory presentations, videos, checklists and libraries to help all stakeholders make sense of the global framework for transmitting passenger data.

Access the Toolkit

Advance Passenger Information (API)

Thirty-nine (39) countries now require airlines to send Advance Passenger Information (API) before the flight’s arrival. Thirty-two (32) more are planning to introduce similar requirements in the near future. API information usually consists of data found in the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) of passports and other travel documents (full name, date or birth, gender, passport number, country of citizenship, country of passport issuance). However, some countries require information that cannot be machine-read. IATA's aim is to ensure that all countries requiring API-type data harmonize their requirements with global standards and guidelines.

Passenger Name Records (PNR)

Access to PNR is required in six (6) countries today and in the works in thirty (30) more. Passenger Name Records (PNR) contain data provided by travelers at the time of booking, sometimes months before their flight, and are held in airlines’ reservation systems until the flight is open for check-in. However, most legislations state that personal data such as contained in PNR should only be used for the purposes it was given, unless explicitly authorized by the data subject, should not be kept for an excessive amount of time and must only be seen by those that have a need to see it. Governments must reach an agreement with each other in order to protect citizens' rights, whilst maintaining border integrity and facilitating passenger flow. IATA is keen to see a global solution to this growing issue of access to PNR.

What we do

1. Education and Guidance

IATA actively influences governments to adopt international standards and best practices. This includes the widespread distribution of guidance materials, holding seminars in countries considering implementation, and active lobbying and assistance where needed.

2. Dealing with Tactical Issues and Reducing Penalties

IATA seeks to quickly and effectively respond to cases where non-standard or unnecessary regulation is in place. This usually means a rapid response to member airlines’ reports of new data requirements or difficulties at specific ports with customs or immigration processes. The provision of up to date and accurate information relating to international travel and entry requirements for each country is critical to reducing immigration penalties. IATA is seeking to resolve instances where either data is not being provided or vetted by a state, or practice differs from official policy, leading to confusion and mishandling.

3. Setting the Standard with Long Term Solutions

Guidelines for API already exist through a joint effort by ICAO, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and IATA. ICAO’s Annex 9 “Facilitation” encourages States to follow these Guidelines. However, as technology develops and new requirements for passenger and cargo data emerge, a number of gaps in the current set of standards have been identified. IATA is working on new standards for Passenger Name Records (PNR), XML formats for Advance Passenger Information (API), interactive API and revised guidelines for the implementation of PNR data regimes. With increased, duplicative demand for passenger data, solutions are needed that make best use of the information provided, adding value to what is currently a costly process. IATA is investigating new approaches to providing passenger data to governments, leveraging technology to reduce costs and seeking added value to both passengers and airlines.

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Additional information

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