IATA has an objective for improving the methods of dealing with Passenger Data, aiming to harmonize systems, set forward-looking standards, and educate countries on the existence of international standards.
Over the years, passenger data has become a central part of the Facilitation puzzle, as more and more governments require that airlines transmit Advance Passenger Information (API) or Passenger Name Records (PNR) data, too often in non-standard and inefficient ways.
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 API-PNR Toolkit
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Advance Passenger Information (API)
Over 70 countries now require airlines to send API before the flight’s arrival. More countries 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 25 countries today and this number is continuously growing. PNR contain data provided by travelers at the time of booking, and are held in airlines’ reservation systems until check-in. However, most legislations state that personal data 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, while 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
- Education and Guidance: IATA actively influences governments to adopt international standards and best practices. This includes the distribution of guidance materials, holding seminars in countries considering implementation, and active lobbying and assistance where needed.
- Dealing with Tactical Issues and Reducing Penalties: IATA seeks to effectively respond to cases where non-standard or unnecessary regulation is in place. The provision of 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.
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 standards have been identified.
IATA is working on new standards for PNR, XML formats for API, interactive API and revised guidelines for the implementation of PNR data regimes. With increased demand for passenger data, solutions are needed to make best use of the information provided and add 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.