Policies & Priorities
The procedures introduced by customs, immigration, security, public health and other agencies on the passage of passengers and cargo across international boundaries have greatly affected the overall travel experience. AAPA is aware that international civil aviation, and the controls applied on passengers and cargo moving through the world’s airports, have changed dramatically in recent years.
AAPA actively involves itself in creating forums for possible solutions to a wide range of issues that impede the smooth and predictable passage of air travellers. With a myriad of facilitation issues affecting the industry, AAPA has close ties with aviation security, immigration and customs authorities, and airports in Asia Pacific, working together in the interest of air travellers.
AAPA participates in international forums and conferences on passenger facilitation, with the aim of promoting the seamless movement of air travellers.
AAPA is currently active in these areas of facilitation:
- Advance Passenger Information (API)
- Passenger Name Record (PNR)
- Use of biometrics in cross border documentation
Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)
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. 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.
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.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has adopted a global, harmonised blueprint for the integration of biometric identification information into passports and other Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTDs). Facial recognition was selected as the globally interoperable biometric for machine-assisted identity confirmation with MRTDs. More recently, trials have been conducted using iris and fingerprint recognition systems, in addition to MRTDs and facial recognition systems.
AAPA recognises that the increased use of biometric-enhanced MRTDs would lead to speedier passage of travellers through airport controls, heightened aviation security and added protection against identity theft. However, governments need to expedite their involvement and include airlines in the overall consultation process to ensure the smooth working of the overall process.