Airlines will now be required to send an updated list of passenger information right after planes’ doors close, after a European directive was implemented in Malta.

Passenger name record data contains a wide range of information, such as dates of travel, travel itinerary, contact details, seat number and baggage information.

Prior to the directive being implemented, authorities would have information of those who had booked to go from one country to the other. Now, the country will have real-time information of those sitting in flights.

The directive had been implemented in Malta since May 2018. A new €2 million passenger name record system was now fully commissioned and functioning at police offices, Dr Farrugia said.

Before the implementation of the directive, authorities may not have been privy to certain information. “For instance, if a person had not booked their seats, we would not have had certain information from the flight,” Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia said.

“We will also now know the names of those who booked their seats at the last minute, since the system is updated in real time,” Dr Farrugia said.

The passenger information will then be shared and made accessible to Europol and other entities including Customs and police units.

“This system is important to protect our borders- particularly in countries that have Schengen”, Dr Farrugia noted, adding it will provide real-time updates

Asked how this new system safeguards data protection, Dr Farrugia said the data will not be shared with anyone except relevant authorities. Information must also be deleted after five years.

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