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Worldwide Passenger Data Transfer ProvidersThe U.N. Security Council have called for new measures to help curb the movement of potential terrorists. Drafted by the U.S. the measures received unanimous approval from the Security Council, who intend to clamp down on funding and recruitment opportunities amongst the militant groups.

U.S. President, Mr Barack Obama said that it is believed that around 15,000 fighters have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliated group, from more than 80 nations. Speaking about the crisis at an unusual Security Council session, Mr Obama said, “The tactic of terrorism is not new. What brings us together today, what is new, is the unprecedented flow of fighters in recent years to and from conflict zones, including Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Libya, and most recently, Syria and Iraq.”

Strengthened steps will be taken to prevent suspected foreign terrorist fighters from entering their territories or passing through borders. Part of the plan is the widespread provision of Advance Passenger Information (API), currently mandatory in the U.S. and spreading throughout the world.

Mandatory provision of API, which includes passenger details, destination countries and methods of payment in some cases, can help governments and border agencies to track the movements of travellers, thus indicating potential high-risk passengers for further investigation. The resolution also includes a strengthening of the legal framework for international action by the suggestion of a passage of legislation that can give countries greater flexibility for the prosecution of suspected foreign fighters.

The U.N. have also encouraged member states to be more co-operative with information-sharing.

“Foreign terrorist fighters increase the intensity, duration and intractability of conflicts, and also may pose a serious threat to their states of origin, the states they transit and the states to which they travel,” the resolution said. More efficient methods of sharing information is what is called for to discourage recruitment, organisation and financing of terrorist movements and the aim of the resolution is to make this as difficult as possible.

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.

Automated Border ClearanceHamad International Airport in the State of Qatar has awarded a contract for 64 e-Gates, equipped with Automated Border Clearance Biometrics to be integrated into the infrastructure of the airport operations.

The technology, including face, fingerprint and iris recognition biometrics will bring enhanced automated border clearance, speeding up passenger processing and streamlining operations at the airport.

Vision-Box, who has been awarded the contract are honoured to be a part of the implementation of the state-of-the-art systems.  “The Middle-East is a market that continues to show enormous potential, where we have invested for some years now and we look forward to further contribute to the various on-going Identity Management programs, as well as supporting the different GCC initiatives in similar projects, by continuously investing in local resources” said Jean-François Lennon, Director of International Business Development at Vision-Box.

Automated Border Clearance Systems are in operation across the globe and can greatly improve operations within the terminal buildings, helping passengers and airport staff with the streamlining of procedures, which before could be exhaustive both physically and operationally.

Other eBorders providers, such as ARINC Inc, bring enhanced automated border clearance technology solutions, including automated baggage handling, self-service kiosks for check-in and bag drop and advanced passenger information systems for the delivery of vital and often mandatory passenger data.

ARINC Common Use System BenefitsARINC has announced that London Heathrow (LHR) has renewed it current iMUSE, common use system contract until March 2015 by the AOC.

LHR remains the world’s busiest international airport, with over 75 million passengers passing through each year and is known as the hub of the civil aviation world.

An additional contract has simultaneously been awarded to ARINC to install the industry leading common use system in LHR’s new Terminal 2, expected to open its doors in June 2014, to support 378 check-in desks and boarding gates.  ARINC will also continue with the maintenance and support for all the equipment.  The new terminal is expected to service 20 million passengers.

Arinc, who have been working with LHR since 1999 have built a strong relationship with the airport.  David P Wilding, Chair of Heathrow AOC’s Shared System Board said, “Terminal 2, which is scheduled to open its doors to the public in June 2014, has been meticulously designed around the needs of passengers – with particular emphasis on enabling them to get to and from their flights as quickly as possible.  ARINC’s iMUSE, by processing passengers faster and more efficiently through sharing airport infrastructure and resources, has a pivotal role to play in this objective which is fundamental to LHR’s undertaking to provide world-class customer service.”

ARINC are delighted to extend and expand their relationship with Heathrow, especially their involvement with the common use system for the new Terminal 2.  Tony Chapman, Executive Director of ARINC EMEA for Heathrow said, “We look forward to continuing to support the AOC’s efforts of providing the most efficient passenger processing systems possible.”

ARINC’s AviNet Mail was selected by more than 1,000 users during the first half of 2013; it was recently announced, lending weight to the claim that the aviation messaging solution is indeed industry-leading!

AviNet Mail and ARINC’s AviSec solutions reliably and securely deliver more than 30 million messages per day to over 30,000 users, figures that represent half the world’s critical type b messaging. ARINC’s cost-effective solution enables Type b and SMS messaging over a secure network and is used daily by airlines, airports, ground handling operations, caterers and dispatch operators, to name but a few…

One of the features of the system is that the AviNet Mail service can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and is operated upon a highly secure, private network.  Sensitive data can be reliably transmitted via a single user interface, enabling the low-cost transmission of passenger data, including advanced passenger information and PNR in addition to all other critical messaging.

“AviNet Mail is the industry’s leading platform because it enables customers to maximize operational efficiency and, ultimately, reduce Type B messaging costs,” said Laura Birt, Sales Director, Aviation Solutions at ARINC EMEA. “We are seeing this continuous rise in adoption and use because AviNet Mail is a highly reliable solution that ensures critical messages are communicated quickly and efficiently—and in line with our customers’ budgets.”

ARINC continue to provide innovative solutions for the aviation industry, staying ahead of the game in this ever-expanding sector.

It has been suggested by BAOA that to implementation of APIS could help to alleviate the security concerns raised in India.

Due to these heightened security concerns, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has blocked temporary landing permits (TLPs) for the crews of foreign business jets of non-scheduled operators (NSOPs).  They will now require mandatory employment visa’s from them to work upon flights within the country after arrival and the possibility of advance passenger information system (APIS).

The movement has placed severe restrictions upon business aviation within India and may be as much as 60% of the entire movement of 24,000 general aviation aircraft on a monthly basis recorded last year that will be affected by the regulatory changes.

Previous TLP’s were issued through the Bureau of Immigration for up to 72 hours for NSOPs foreign registered aircraft flight crew.

Mr Rajesh Bali, Secretary of the Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA) is concerned that business and tourism industries will be hit by the changes and recommended to the Government that they mandate APIS for NSOPs which will enable the MHA to ‘Scrutinise personally any passenger or crew flying in on business jets, as it happens in the case of scheduled airlines.’

APIS is currently mandatory for US flights, both national and international and gives the DHS the opportunity to highlight possible high risk passengers and crew before the flight even touches down.

While the issue of TLPs is suspended, airports in major destinations, such as Delhi and Mumbai are losing vital revenue in fees from business aviation.

The BAOA has suggested that if MHA will move to implement a system where crew would be issued a 3-5 year visa as is the regulation in the US, that it continue to issue TLPs until a permanent decision can be made.

Digital APIS offers reliable and secure delivery of Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Records, including that of the aircraft crew.  APIS solutions are offered by business aviation communications providers for border security.

The US-EU spying scandal could stir up a hornets nest for the aviation industry regarding passenger data sharing if the allegations are proved to be correct.

The German report in ‘Der Spiegel’ suggested that the US’s NSA have targeted the EU with its spying activities. Concerns have been raised and an investigation is underway, with demands from Green Party Leaders to cancel the transfer of passenger data, in the form of Passenger Name Records (PNR), which include such information as passenger name, address details, destination and baggage, payment details and travel itinerary.

Arguably, the provision of PNR and Advance Passenger Information (API), now mandatory for US flights, has considerably reduced the risk of terrorist activity.  Since 9/11, understandable concerns became obvious and, after a thorough investigation, the provision of passenger data enables government bodies to screen passengers before boarding the aircraft, thus highlighting possible ‘high-risk’ passengers while streamlining the service for ‘low-risk’ passengers.

Many believe that PNR and API passenger data exchange is a necessary procedure for all aviation travel, business or commercial, inter-state or Trans-Atlantic, to enhance security measures.  A secure, reliable passenger data sharing service can offer reassurance to the aviation passenger, the airline and to border control and immigration services.

Where should the line be drawn when it comes to security?

Aviation communications providers work hard to ensure secure, efficient and fast delivery of PNR and API to appropriate government agencies, but, the trouble is that it is not clear how the governments are dealing with the passenger data once it has been ‘used’ for its purpose.

The agreement is that the passenger data is anonymized after five years. After six months the passenger name is removed and the passenger data is stored securely.  The PNR itself is only scrutinized if the passenger is ‘flagged’ as risky.

No doubt the debate will continue, certainly with the media frenzy continuing over Edward Snowden, the NSA ‘whistle-blower’!

passenger data sharing

Panama’s Tocumen International Airport with the support of the ICAO has chosen ARINC AviNet Messaging Solution for the analysis of the airport’s operational data and capturing advance passenger information (API).

ARINC also provides baggage source, load and movement messages which encompasses critical data about weight, baggage and movement for arriving and departing aircraft.

Finding ARINC’s AviNet to be the most effective solution available, Juan Carlos Pino, Tocumen’s GM said, “The new solution will assist the airport in capturing both operational and advance passenger information data from international air transport carriers.”

ARINC AviNet will be used for the on-going analysis, through the transmission of API messages, which supports Panama’s border security requirements and aims to improve airport operational efficiency.

ARINC Global Networks and IT Solutions Vice-President, Yun Chong agrees and says, “Tocumen International Airport is joining other industry leaders who are using operation data analysis to improve airport efficiency.”

ARINC AviNet for Tocumen

High levels of illegal activity border-wide and corruption within the companies guarding Nigeria’s border has prompted a Chinese firm to apply to install electronic borders control equipment at a cost of approximately 244 million U.S. dollars.

Electronic border management deployment would tighten security immensely, reducing the temptation to try to access Nigeria’s borders illegally.  With enhanced security, and the reduction of illegal border activity, it will be possible for Nigeria to develop its borders and increase commercial promotion.

“Until now, what we had was a proposal from a private Chinese company with which we had also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide for an electronic border control and the cost of the equipment was approximately about 244 million U.S. dollars”, Interior Minister, Abba Moro said, adding, “With the assistance of the U.S. State Department, we realised that some components of the offer we got from the private firm was contained in what the State Department would be offering us”.

With the help of U.S. State Department, the Nigerian Interior Ministry hope to deploy advanced surveillance technology in addition to electronic borders equipment.

It has been recently discussed that passenger data, if utilized and analyzed properly, could improve profitability for the airline industry.

Of course, this is a highly debatable subject in some sectors, due to concerns over security and data-sharing, not just passenger data, but all kind of data ranging throughout global industry.

However, passenger data is already accessed via a ‘cloud’ by government and security agencies and is carefully tagged to ensure the passenger data or any other information does not fall into ‘other’ hands.

The implementation of a ‘Data Lake’ could be the answer, enabling secure access to passenger data and related data that could be used by authorized analysts to weigh up the global aviation industry possibilities for improvement and increased profitability.

So, What is a ‘Data Lake’ & How Could it Affect Passenger Data?

A ‘Data Lake’ is basically a common storage pool with each piece of data being tagged with appropriate security information.  This will, through the use of metatags, control who is able to access the information, be it passenger data for an airline or fuel prices, for example.  The security information will stay with the data, tagging it in with certain criteria for analytical value.

The idea will place analytical information within fast and easy, but above all, secure and controlled reach of analysts, with those security tags firmly in place!