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AviSec Messaging Frequently Asked Questions

AviSec Messaging Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Proposed European PNR Directive?

Although most EU states currently use PNR transmission, the European Commission have proposed a directive to allow consistent regulations and firm rules in the handling of personal passenger data.

What is PNR?

PNR is the acceptable, abbreviated term given to Passenger Name Records, containing personal traveller information such as:

  • Travel dates and itinerary
  • Ticketing information, including payment
  • Contact details
  • Baggage information

PNR information is collected by flight operators at the reservation and check-in levels and is stored in an airline’s Departure Control System (DCS). At the present time PNR data handling is not regulated in the EU and the European Commission recognises the need for the use of PNR data to tackle security issues and the threat of terrorism across Europe. To enable this, legislative measures are required.

More about Passenger Name Records.

What is the proposed EU PNR directive?

The use of personal passenger data has been a highly debated subject since discussions began in 2011. The use of PNR to detect potential threats to a country’s national security is clear in that ‘persons of interest’ are immediately recognised. Much of the debate surrounds those passengers that are deemed ‘low risk'.

Currently the UK operate a system that requires the exchange of Authority to Carry Requests (ATC) in the form of Advance Passenger Information via the eBorders security system.

More information about Authority to Carry Requests.

The EU Commission proposes that:

  • A dedicated unit (passenger information unit) in each EU state of arrival or departure must be set up to receive, handle and protect the PNR data. An independent supervisory authority must monitor the dedicated units.
  • The analysis of the PNR data is to be used only for the purposes of detecting, investigating, preventing and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime.
  • The PNR data must be depersonalised within one month after the flight.
  • The PNR data must be retained for a maximum period of five years.
  • Data that could reveal racial or ethnic origin, political or religious opinion must not be transferred by carriers or used by any participating EU state.
  • The databases of air carriers must not be accessible by EU states. PNR data must be requested and sent by the ‘push’ method of transmission.
  • Passengers must be made aware about the collection of PNR data and their rights.
  • Passengers must be given the right to access, rectify and delete their personal data.

More information about passenger data transfer.

How will EU PNR data be used?

Once received, the passenger data will begin a first-stage automatic process to assess travellers.

This must take place before arrival in the destination country, or before departure from the originating country or region, to enable the identification of passengers that may require further investigation or examination by the relevant authority.

Part of the directive states that automated processing of the PNR data must not be, if it is likely that an individual may be affected by a legal or human rights issue, the only basis for decision-making.

If specific PNR data is requested by an authority, (and only a relevant government or law-enforcement authority), each ‘Passenger Information Unit’ must assess and respond on a case-by-case basis, only providing the information related to a specific case.

The directive is still in the proposal stages and will not be launched until an agreement can be reached, although PNR data-sharing plans were finally approved by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Commission in July 2015, and the compromise text by the Council of the European Union in December 2015.

Now the compromise reached will enable the EU to begin the process of setting in place an effective, regulated PNR system that handles the fundamental rights of passengers respectfully and securely.

The EU has PNR transmission and processing agreements in place with the US, Canada and Australia for the assessment of international travellers.

How Rockwell Collins’ ARINC AviSec handles PNR transmission

Rockwell Collins’ ARINC AviSec delivers seamless reliability to aviation message handling via the robust and proven AviNet network. Used by thousands of worldwide operators sending millions of Type B mission critical transmissions every day, AviSec offers uniquely tailored solutions for all types of airline data transfer obligations.

More about Rockwell Collins’ ARINC AviSec.

Contact us today to find out more about our secure and reliable aviation security software for passenger data exchange.

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