France to test air passenger data sharing


PARIS: France will test an EU-wide passenger data sharing system aimed at helping to detect jihadists at two of its busiest airports later this month, a senior interior ministry official said Saturday.

The Passenger Name Record system, approved by the European Parliament in April, will be tested at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport and that of southeastern Nice before the tests are extended to all French airports, the official told AFP.

He said the system should be “fully operational” by the end of the year, although EU countries were given two years to turn it into national law.

The idea is to “gradually link all the airlines” operating in France, the official said.

Airlines participating in the tests will include Air France, Delta Airlines, Air Transat, Etihad and Emirates, the French daily Le Figaro reported.

The European Parliament vote overcame privacy concerns and ended five years of debate that intensified after the November jihadist attacks in Paris and the Brussels bombings in March.

The collection of PNR data will be aimed at helping to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute terror attacks and other serious crimes such as people trafficking, child pornography, drug smuggling and arms dealing.

PNR data includes information that passengers give airlines, travel agents and tour operators when they make flight reservations and check in for flights. Itineraries, ticket types, contact details, baggage information and payment information will all be included.

The measure covers all EU member states except Denmark.

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