French airports to test EU passenger data system

PARIS • A European Union-wide passenger data sharing system aimed at helping in the detection of militants will be tested at two of France's busiest airports this month, a senior interior ministry official said yesterday.

The Passenger Name Record (PNR) system, approved by the European Parliament in April, will be tested at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and at the Nice airport in the south-east before the tests are extended to all French airports, the official said.

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

The idea was to "gradually link all the airlines" operating in France, the official said.

Airlines participating in the tests 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 last November's militant attacks in Paris and the Brussels bombings in March.

The collection of PNR data is aimed at helping to prevent, detect and investigate 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 be included.

The measure covers all EU member states except Denmark.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 22, 2016, with the headline 'French airports to test EU passenger data system'. Print Edition | Subscribe