API (Advance passenger information): the collection and transmission of required passenger data

A growing number of destination countries oblige airlines to forward passenger data to them for arriving in and departing from the country; some also require it from airlines flying over the country. Usually, such legal regulations involve the transmission of data on the identity and on the travel documents (passport, visa) of the passengers and crew on board the aircraft.

As a rule, an airline does not have these data, so it must collect them shortly before an aircraft departs, which increasingly is being done by means of the so-called 'machine-readable zone' in the new travel documents.

Collection of the data is done solely for immediate transmission to the authorities of the destination country.

Extension of the API obligation in the European Union is planned over the next few years.


The supplementing of API data in the case of Canada is similar to that for the USA

In addition, Canadian law obliges airlines that fly to the country to supplement the data transmitted within the framework of API by those stored in certain fields of the reservation record (PNR) of the passengers involved. Canada and the European Union concluded an agreement to implement this legally prescribed transmission.

The European Union's supervisory authorities for data protection confirmed that the data transmission provided for in this agreement was compatible with EU data protection regulations.

The agreed content of the reservation record (as far as it is available) has been transmitted since the end of April 2006 as a supplement to the standard API data.

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