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Parliamentary questions
26 February 2009
E-1219/09
WRITTEN QUESTION by Corien Wortmann-Kool (PPE‑DE) to the Commission

 Subject: Secure Flight
 Answer(s) 

At the moment, at various stages prior to a passenger flight from, to and through the United States, airlines send data to American authorities. This applies for example to PNR data before check-in, AQQ (passport) data at check-in and a passenger manifest at the time of departure. All this data goes to US Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). At the same time, passengers have to request approval to enter the United States via ESTA and airlines will shortly have to start checking whether passengers do have that approval.

In the meantime another department of the DHS, the Transport Security Administration, has created a new requirement for data provision, known as ‘Secure Flight’. This requires airlines to forward ‘correct’ passenger data, including sex and date of birth, at least 72 hours before departure, so that the American authorities can verify whether people on the journey appear on a terrorism list. In the course of 2009 Secure Flight will also apply to international flights through American airspace. Secure Flight will thus become the fifth data provision requirement for airlines to fulfil. It is causing a proliferation of systems for passing on data to the Americans, as other departments are to all intents and purposes asking for the same information already. Secure Flight also expects to receive data that cannot routinely be supplied 72 hours before departure (the date of birth).

1. How does the Commission view the American plans for Secure Flight? What consequences will this have in the Commission’s view for airlines’ operational procedures, including the cost of implementation?

2. Does the Commission agree that this proliferation of data supply systems is creating problems for (European) airlines, that the efficiency of data supply is being undermined, and that it is increasingly unclear to passengers when and for what purpose data have to be provided?

3. Is the Commission prepared to make known, in its various consultative meetings with the United States, the concern at this proliferation of systems for supplying data, and to call for a harmonised approach within the various departments responsible in the United States, together with a harmonised approach between the United States and Europe?

Original language of question: NLOJ C 189, 13/07/2010
Last updated: 4 March 2009Legal notice