Fliers to India to be watched
Come August 1 and international airlines would have to provide exhaustive information on their India-bound fliers.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has given airlines a month’s time to deploy the advanced passenger information system (APIS).
The rationale behind the deplyment of the system at major Indian airports is to ensure that unwanted “elements” on the
government’s watchlist are asked to return to their country of origin.
Under the system, airlines would provide exhaustive information on passengers within 15 minutes of take-off to India. It includes the passenger’s name, date of birth, nationality, sex, passport number, country of issuing the passport, country of permanent residence, besides visa details.
The government has assured that the data of passengers collected from airlines will be kept confidential. “This is a very elementary form of passenger screening,” said Manish Jaikrishnan, director, SITA, a travel consulting firm bringing in hardware and software for APIS system. “The US and some European countries have already moved on to more advanced systems of screenings passengers even
before they board the aircraft.”
Most airlines that Hindustan Times spoke to said they were working towards meeting the deadline. An Air India official said that that the airline has already been providing information to countries like the US where APIS has been in place for a couple of years.
“We are working towards meeting the August 1 deadline,” said Gunjn Chanana, spokesperson for Singapore Airlines.