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Sita offers hosted air passenger data system for transatlantic airlines

Antony Savvas

Outsourcer SITA has gone live with a system for filtering sensitive passenger information on behalf of EU airlines and others flying into North America.

The system aims to overcome a row between the US government, the European Union and other states over the transfer of passenger data for security checks.

The Canadian government contracted SITA globally to transfer airline Passenger Name Record (PNR) data compiled from booking and check-in records.

SITA has now developed a service on behalf of the airlines for filtering out sensitive fields of information which would be in breach of Canadian and EU privacy legislation.

The service has now been adopted by seven airlines flying into Canada: Alitalia, Czech, KLM, Martinair, Olympic, Swiss and “one leading US carrier”.

Tom Marten, SITA vice president for government and security business, said SITA acted as an intermediary between the airline and the receiving government.

He said, “We extract the PNR data from the airline’s reservations and departure control systems and push it across our secure network after the sensitive fields of information have been filtered out. None of the PNR data is saved on our system once it has been exported.”

Marten said the system helped airlines meet their dual obligations. On the one hand, they must protect the data of their passengers and conform to national and international privacy directives. On the other hand, they must provide limited information on passengers according to the laws of countries seeking to improve national security.

Without using the SITA system, the airlines which have already signed up would have had to build an equivalent solution themselves.

 


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