Traveling to or out of India this month or in the coming season? You will need to fulfil an additional obligation in compliance with the new rule effective from August 8 after booking flight tickets to India or outbound travel from India. Reportedly, travelers who are scheduled to fly in the next 2 days are receiving emails from airlines asking for certain details as requested by the government of India.
It is now a mandate for international airlines flying into or out of India to share details of their passengers, both inbound and outbound, in a prescribed format with the customs authorities of India, at least 24 hours prior to their departure schedule. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), an agency of India’s finance ministry, issued a gazette notification titled “Passenger Name Record Information Regulations, 2022” for the risk analysis of all incoming and outgoing international travelers.
The Passenger Name Record Information Regulations, 2022 requires every airline to register with the National Customs Targeting Centre-Passenger that CBIC has set up to analyse passenger data collected before arrival or departure for the better risk profiling of travelers. Usually, passenger data is available with the immigration authorities in India only after the departure or arrival of international flights. This move is aimed at detecting, investigating and prosecuting those charged with such economic offenses as tax fraud, money laundering, illegal trade, and trafficking.
The Passenger Name Record Information includes the below 19 data points:
- PNR record locator code
- Date of reservation/issue of ticket
- Date(s) of travel
- Traveler name(s)
- Frequent flyer and benefit information (free tickets, upgrades, etc.)
- Number of travelers on a PNR
- All available contact information (email, telephone number, mobile number)
- All available payment/billing information
- Travel itinerary
- Travel agency/travel agent
- Code share information if any
- Split/divided information (when one PNR contains reference to another PNR)
- Travel status of passenger(s) (including check-in status)
- Baggage information
- Ticketing information including ticket number, ticket type, Automated Ticket Fare Quote
- Seat number
- Any previously collected passenger information, such as passport number, date of birth, gender
- All historical changes to the PNR
- General remarks including Other Service Indicated (OSI), Special Service Indicated (SSI), Supplemental Service Request (SSR) information
“To be shared on a case-to-case basis with the law enforcement agencies of India or any other country,” the passenger name record information would be saved in a secure system for 5 years. Any unauthorized access to or use of the passenger information shall be prevented as the government of India has specified strict privacy and protection guidelines. “The processing of such sensitive passenger details as race/ethnic origin, religion of philosophical faith, political opinions, health, sexual life or orientation shall not be permitted,” as per the regulation.
After expiration of the stipulated period of five years, the passenger data shall be “disposed of by depersonalization or anonymization through masking out the relevant information which can serve to identify directly the passenger to whom the passenger name record information relates, provided that such depersonalized or anonymized information may be unmasked when used in connection with an identifiable case, threat or risk for the specified purposes”.
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“With the Passenger Name Record Information Regulations, 2022; India entered the league of 60 countries, including the United States, that have a strict policy in place for airlines to share their passengers’ detailed information with customs, immigration and border control authorities,” said the chief travel information officer of Indian Eagle, a leading international air-ticketing agency.