Today, many governments require airlines to submit detailed passenger information prior to arrival. In addition to the information available on the passport’s machine-readable zone, additional personal data from visitors, such as country of residence, passport expiration date, and residential address, is also increasingly being requested. Whilst the rationale for introducing such new requirements is understood, the burden of capturing such data and submitting it electronically falls on airlines.
The World Customs Organisation (WCO), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have agreed specific guidelines on API (UN/EDIFACT Paxlst message structure) to ensure harmonisation and consistency in the application of API requirements worldwide, and which also aims to reduce the operational and financial impact of API systems.
At the same time, there are serious penalties imposed on airlines for non-compliance to data submission/accuracy. At the same time however, airlines also have to address privacy concerns in many countries.