The mumbai terror strikes have yet again underlined need for passenger profiling through a computer-linked information system to zero in on suspicious persons arriving in airports, but airlines continue to drag their feet.
The country has not yet been able make all airlines execute the internationally accepted advanced passenger information system because several airlines have been reluctant to put in place the required information databases. The APIS is operational in 10 countries including USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bahrain, South Korea, China, Mexico, South Africa and Japan.
Under the APIS system, airlines would have to provide a wide-range of information on passengers within 15 minutes of the take-off of a flight bound for India. They information would include details such as the full name of the passenger; date of birth; nationality; sex; passport number; country issuing the passport; and country of permanent residence, besides the visa number, date and place of issue.
The objective of APIS is to prevent persons of suspicious antecedents, whose names figure in the Ministry of Home Affairs’ watch list, from entering India. Only Singapore Airlines and state-run Air India have put the system in place.
APIS was first notified in India in 2005, but its mandatory rollout has got delayed by more than three years because reluctant airlines opposed the move citing the absence of technology. The system was supposed to be in place at Delhi, Mumbai. Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Cochin airports.