Govt asks airlines to share international passengers' contact details with customstext_fields
New Delhi: The government has asked airlines to mandatorily share PNR (passenger name record) details of all international passengers with customs authorities, 24 hours prior to the departure of flights.
The move is aimed at preventing law offenders from fleeing the country.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), under the finance ministry, on August 8 notified the 'Passenger Name Record Information Regulations, 2022', which aims at "risk analysis" of passengers to prevent economic and other offenders from fleeing the country as well as check any illicit trade such as smuggling.
'The National Customs Targeting Centre-Passenger', set up by the CBIC, will process information for the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of offenses under the Customs Act and also for the law enforcement agencies or government departments or any other country, it said.
"Every aircraft operator shall transfer the passenger name record information... of passengers they have already collected such information in the normal course of business operations, to the designated customs systems," the regulations said, adding every aircraft operator will have to seek registration with customs for its implementation.
The information to be shared by airline companies for both inbound and outbound international flights include the name of the passenger, billing/payment information (credit card number), date of issue of the ticket as well as intended travel, and names of other travellers in the same PNR, travel itinerary for the PNR, contact details like email id, mobile number, details of travel agency, baggage information and code share information (when one airline sells seats on another air carrier's flight).
While the regulation did not state the reason for seeking such information, analysts said this was to prevent bank loan defaulters from fleeing the country to avoid prosecution.
"Every aircraft operator shall transfer passenger name record information not later than 24 hours before the departure time; or at the departure time - wheels off," the regulation said, adding the information would be retained in the customs systems for up to five years.
It further said that for each act of non-compliance with these regulations, the aircraft operators would have to pay a penalty of a minimum of ₹ 25,000 and a maximum of ₹ 50,000.
With regard to sharing of information with other law enforcement agencies or foreign states, the regulation said that the National Customs Targeting Centre-Passenger may share the relevant information on a "case-to-case basis" with other law enforcement agencies or government departments of India or any other country.