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advance-passenger-informationMalta’s Police Force’s Immigration Unit has completed five projects to enhance border security measures with the help of co-funding from European Border Funds.

The projects include the procurement of additional radios and biometric devices to assist in communications and comparison of passenger data with international no-fly lists. The new technology is designed to halt the passage of illegal residents, with an on-the-spot ability to screen information.

Furthermore, modernisation of the border control system has been focussed upon, with health and safety upgrades made, in addition to an upgrade of equipment.

Finally, Malta has introduced a system for the collection of Advance Passenger Information to strengthen border security. Many countries throughout the world are enhancing border control measures and providers are using the latest technological advancements to introduce stronger systems including eBorders technology.

APIS Transmission ProvidersManila’s Bureau of Immigration (BI) is set to introduce APIS in a bid to exclude unwanted foreign visitors. The Advance Passenger Information System, mandatory for U.S. travellers, will be operational following government approval.

The BI commissioner, Mr Siegfred Mison said on Friday that ‘immigration authorities from countries where passengers originated will be required to submit names and personal circumstances of passengers boarding airlines and ships bound for the Philippines, allowing those with derogatory records to be segregated pending further security checks’.

The planned introduction of APIS is a part of preparations for two big events in Manila’s calendar, namely the visit of Pope Francis in January 2015 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference (APEC) in November.

“As soon as the measure is approved we will bid it to interested parties the APIS scan data base which will receive and accept the information sent by the BI foreign counterparts,” said Mison.

Find out more about Advance Passenger Information SystemFollowing a two-year trial, plans have now been announced for the formal launch of an Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai). The scheme is pending final approval by the Ministry of the Interior, but should be in place by the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.

APIS helps airlines to process passenger informational data and will be a vital part of the border control system of the UAE and aims to reduce passenger checking times to just 20 seconds and thus streamlining the entire passenger processing system to allow for greater efficiency throughout the airport.

“Big organisations require a progressive and ambitious administrative philosophy. The one that is capable of coping with the challenges and at the same time add to its growth and development. GDRFA-Dubai, which deals with millions of people every month from all the segments, follows the same principle. Our cadres are our true treasures,” said GDRFA-Dubai Director-General, Major-General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri.

The Advance Passenger Information System is ready to be implemented at national level, once approved. Major-General Obaid Muhair bin Suroor, Deputy Director-General of GDRFA-Dubai, has revealed that the first phase of implementation will begin with Emirates Airlines, with their First and Business class passengers. All other airlines and economy class passengers will benefit from APIS during subsequent phases of implementation.

Read more about Advance Passenger Information SystemsThe Royal Oman Police have issued a warning to citizens wishing to travel abroad to ensure that passports due to expire within the next six months are renewed to avoid problems at their destination airport. At the moment, airlines take only the name of the passenger before the issue of tickets.

This follows repeated complaints from travellers to many countries that refuse to accept passports with less than six months before the expiry time. Although the rules are in place, travellers still neglect to renew, yet still complain.

The upcoming mandates for advance passenger information will soon be in place and passports due to expire will be recognised immediately and ticket issue will be denied in advance. According to official sources, 99% of travel agencies do advise passengers to check the dates of issue and expiry in their passports, but still the problem remains.

Advance passenger information systems are mandatory in the US and this trend is spreading across the globe as aviation security measures tighten. The API system enables governments and border agencies to track and monitor the movement of passengers across the world, and identify high risk passengers in time to perform additional security checks, whilst expediting low risk travellers. The system helps to streamline the passenger processing system and minimises ground delays and associated costs.

Once advance passenger information is in operation, passengers will be required to provide passport as well as personal details before travel. The expectation is that there will be an influx of passport renewals in the Oman, which is likely to cause severe delays within the system. Those wishing to travel are strongly advised to check their passports in advance.

Providers of secure, reliable APIS deliveryIn a bid to make the travel experience for passengers as smooth as possible, the Philippines will make the implementation of Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) next year. Carried out jointly with the Department of Justice, Department of Budget and Management Bureau of Immigration, the vital data concerning all passengers will be assessed between 120 hours to 15 minutes prior to departure.

Aside from the security aspects of reliable APIS, the Philippines have long been struggling with efficiencies on the ground, as flights tend to arrive quickly, in succession. The long ground delays have been a problem, causing chaos within terminals as passengers endure queues, hold-ups in baggage areas and a lack of trolleys.

Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. said, “The ideal travel experience is one without interruption. We want the entry of travellers into the Philippines to become as smooth and seamless as possible so we need an efficient tool such as an electronic API. This would avoid long queue in our airports, as we can already identify passengers who are ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ But, of course, we have to have a balance between border control/security with that of ease of entry into our airports.”

The benefits of APIS are clear to see and easy to implement. “All we have to do is to synchronize the system with that of the Philippines government. It will be up to the Philippines authorities to align their systems with the airline companies’ systems,” explained Roberto Lim, IATA Country Manager for the Philippines.

Streamlining passenger processes are just one of the advantages of APIS implementation. The ability to screen passengers in advance gives the authorities the opportunity to spot ‘at risk’ travellers and expedite ‘safe’ ones. Providers of APIS technology offer secure and reliable ways of APIS delivery across the world.

Advanced Passenger Information System ~ Find Out More...The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today called for greater use to be made of Advanced Passenger Information System data as the industry still reels in the aftermath of the missing flight MH370 search.

Director General of IATA, Mr Tony Tyler said, ‘It is important to remember that airlines aren’t border guards or policemen, the checking of passports is the well-established responsibility of governments.’ His comments were made at a conference in the Malaysian Capital earlier this week as he spoke of the need for a review of government data-review procedures, which would importantly include the comparison of names against Interpol’s lost and stolen passport lists. Although no link has been established with the two Iranian passengers that boarded with stolen passports and any terrorist organisation, the fact that they were allowed on board ‘rings alarm bells.’

In addition to Advanced Passenger Information System data, Mr Tyler, who is also a former chief executive for Cathay Pacific Airways, placed emphasis upon a need for better aircraft tracking. ‘In a world where our every move seems to be tracked, there is disbelief both that an aircraft could simply disappear and that the flight data and cockpit voice recorders are so difficult to recover,’ he said.

IATA plan to assemble a team of experts to study the available options for aircraft tracking, which is expected to reveal its conclusions at the end of the year.

Reliable and Secure APIS ProvidersIt has been announced that FltPlan.com, North America’s largest flight planning service provider, has been approved and selected to work with the Mexican government to implement their plans for the submission of Advanced Passenger Information.

Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration (INM) announced last month that, in order to improve its ability to process passengers more efficiently, it needed to employ APIS for the submission of the passenger data within 30 minutes of departure.

The Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) allows passenger information to be processed in the destination country before touchdown, which enhances border control, identifying high-risk passengers and expediting low-risk individuals.

The transmission of API is mandatory in the U.S. and is spreading across the globe in the fight against terrorism.

Leading Providers of Advanced Passenger Information SystemThe National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has responded to the new rules implemented by Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration for reporting of Advanced Passenger Information, saying their application to private flights arose, “primarily from a need for enhanced security measures in Mexico, as well as a desire for better accounting of taxes paid by arriving and departing passengers.”

The NBAA has also updated its own APIS (Advance Passenger Information System), developed in conjunction with ARINC, to comply with the legislation. Several third-party companies, amongst them Universal Weather & Aviation and FltPlan have stated that they are also able to help customers comply. The regulations require reporting to occur electronically within 30 minutes of departure if a flight will take more than an hour, whilst shorter flights must be reported after the doors have closed.

APIS Solutions for Mandatory Passenger Data TransferNew rules from Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration (INM) have prompted FltPlan to expand the capabilities of its current eAPIS system. FltPlan president Ken Wilson said the rules now require Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) manifests be submitted within 30 minutes of any aircraft closing its doors, and warned that breaching them could result in fines of up to $5,000.

Wilson reflected that FltPlan’s five-year plus experience in eAPIS systems and their early adoption of U.S. Customs and Border Protection certification for submission of passenger information made for a relatively easy transition when working with the Mexican government.

FltPlan, which recently exhibited at NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers conference in New Orleans, said its aim was to provide a low-cost, specialist solution. Current annual subscription rates to its eAPIS system are $249, and the Mexico service an additional £200, with $20 per manifest ($40 for a round trip from the U.S. to Mexico).

Provision of Passenger Data to Enhance SecurityConcerns are growing for security chiefs about the increasing risk of potential terrorists being allowed to travel freely around Europe after the release and use of passenger data was blocked on human rights grounds earlier this year.

Cressida Dick, Assistant Commissioner of the Met expressed a warning that young men are able to fly to Turkey, hire a car and drive across the border into Syria. Her concern is that a ‘small number could fall under the spell of terrorists and return to Britain with deadly skills and motivation’.

Passenger data has been effectively used to identify potential high-risk passengers, alerting government agencies and border control before those passengers touch down at their destination. Supporters of the share of this data, referred to as Advanced Passenger Information (API) say that the information is critical to help track terrorists, people traffickers and serious criminals that regularly traverse international borders.

The system was developed after the terror attacks of 9/11 and is mandatory for passengers travelling to and within the U.S. and other parts of the world.

API is delivered electronically via the DCS of airlines. Providers maintain reliable, secure delivery and limited access to the information.

The Civil Liberties Committee of the EP claim that the passenger data storage system raises privacy concerns and critics are unhappy about the data being kept for five years, which could lead to passenger profiling.

As the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator points out that the numbers of fighters travelling to Syria is increasing, it has made a call to put airline passenger information availability back into practice, giving security officials the ability to track the movements of particular groups across Europe.

The head of MI5, Mr Andrew Parker, revealed that spies had observed ‘hundreds of people’ travel to Syria and added that some had indeed returned to the UK.

It is unclear how, when or even if, the use of passenger data may return to the forefront of aviation travel in Europe.