NEW DELHI: Aircraft operators are now required to share all travel information of passengers who are going to fly to and from India at least 24 hours before their flight departure time.
This information shall be shared with the agency established by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBIC), the National Customs-Passenger Targeting Center (NCTC-P) for conducting a “Passenger Risk Analysis “. This will serve 2 purposes: first, for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of violations of the law. Secondly, for law enforcement agencies and ministries, as required, in India and abroad.
The CBIC, which falls under the Union Department of Finance, published a notice in the Official Gazette on Monday, August 8 titled “Passenger Name Record Information Regulations2022” and takes effect from this date.
Every aircraft operator is now required to register and provide Passenger Details in a format prescribed in the NCTC-P “no later than twenty-four hours before the departure time; or at departure time – wheels off,” the notification read.
This passenger name record information will include details such as PNR; date of reservation and issue of the ticket; information available on frequent flyers and benefits (such as free tickets, upgrades); all available payment/billing information (such as credit card number); travel itinerary for a specific PNR; travel agency/travel agent.
The notification further stated that passenger details would also include “split/split information (where a PNR contains a reference to another PNR); ticketing information, including ticket number, one-way tickets; information information; seat number; any advance passenger information collected that is initially entered by an air carrier in its PNR, such as passport number, date of birth and gender) and any historical changes to the PNR.
“NCTC-P to receive and process Passenger Name Record information as well as any other information relevant to passenger risk analysis for the purposes of – (a) the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of offenses under of the law and the rules and regulations made therein under, or (b) law enforcement agencies or government departments of India or any other country may specify for the purpose of regulation 10,” adds the notification.
Rule 10 of that Gazette titled “Sharing Information with Other Law Enforcement Agencies or Foreign States” stated: “Where Passenger Record Information relates to an offense under law in force, whether nationally or internationally, the NCTC-P may share the relevant information on a case-by-case basis with other law enforcement agencies or government departments of India or any other country.…subject to maintaining the same level of confidentiality of information and protection of information and safeguards…other law law enforcement agencies or government departments of India or other countries shall , when searching for information, specify the purpose for which this information is sought.
The notification states that such information received “will be subject to strict confidentiality and protection of information in accordance with the provisions of any law currently in force”.
“The processing of Passenger Name Record information revealing a person’s race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health, sex life or sexual orientation, n is not allowed,” he said.
The new rule provides for an independent and thorough audit of the system and a security audit on an annual basis, to prevent any misuse of Passenger Name Record information.
Aircraft operators who fail to provide this data can be fined a minimum of Rs 25,000.
Abhishek Jain, Partner, KPMG India (Indirect Taxes), said: “The government has come up with the Passenger Name Record Information Regulations 2022. The purpose of these regulations is to obtain relevant passenger data for risk analysis in order to proactively prevent, detect, investigate or prosecute. infringements of customs legislation or any other national or international legislation. The responsibility to collect and share this information in a timely manner rests with airline operators. Furthermore, although strict privacy guidelines have been stipulated under the said regulations, the government should ensure that they are duly enforced to prevent unauthorized use.