To improve monitoring, airlines asked to share PNR details with customs

Airlines will be required to share passengers’ PNR (passenger name record) details with customs before the arrival and departure of international flights, according to a notification issued by the Ministry of Finance.

The details will be used by the customs service to improve surveillance and risk assessment of passengers entering or leaving the country.

A PNR contains details of the ticket reservation, including passenger names, frequent flyer status, payment/billing details (credit card number), and baggage information, among others.

While the government proposed the requirement in the 2017 Union budget, a formal process for reporting passenger data has only now been introduced after the notification was issued on Monday.

With this, India joins 60 other countries that collect PNR details from international passengers.

Currently, airlines are required to share passenger information with immigration authorities in advance, but this is limited to the passenger’s name, nationality, passport details, etc. .

According to the notification, a National Customs-Passenger Targeting Center has been established by the Central Customs and Excise Board to receive and process PNR information for risk analysis of passengers for the purpose of prevention, investigation , detection and prosecution of various offences. .

“Each aircraft operator must transfer PNR information no later than twenty-four hours before the time of departure or at the time of departure,” the notification reads. PNR information collected by the customs service will be subject to strict confidentiality and protection in accordance with applicable legislation. PNR data will be kept for a maximum of five years.

The government will also carry out systems and security audits every year to prevent any misuse of PNR information by senior officials.

An airline source said the notification addresses the concerns of international airlines. In March, for example, the International Air Transport Association complained to the Ministry of Civil Aviation about “non-standard requests” for passenger data by the Tax Intelligence Directorate.

This followed DRI’s instructions to airlines at Chennai and Bengaluru airports to share 15 fields of passenger information. “Such non-standard passenger data transmission requests are particularly problematic as they involve sensitive information and their processing has privacy implications,” IATA Country Director Amitabh Khosla said in his letter to the government. Ministry of Civil Aviation.

“Although strict privacy guidelines have been stipulated under the said regulations, the government should ensure that they are duly enforced to prevent unauthorized use,” said Abhishek Jain, Partner, Indirect Tax, KPMG India.

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