Customs asks airlines to share PNR details of international passengers

Aircraft operators and airlines will now have to furnish all travel-related information including date of travel, credit card details, and baggage information about passengers who are going to travel in and out of India at least 24 hours before their flight departure.

Non-adherence to these rules will attract a penalty between INR 25,000 – 50,000 for each act of non-compliance.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs notified the Passengers Name Record Information Regulations 2022 that mandate aircraft operators to share certain information with the National Customs Targeting Centre-Passenger (NCTC-P). It will conduct a risk analysis of passengers.

Details needed for passengers travelling in and out of India.

Officials said that the customs department will use the data for improved surveillance and risk assessment of flyers. This data will also help the law enforcement agencies in India or any other country.

With this, India joins a list of over 60 countries, including the US, that has regulations on sharing prior information with Customs and border control authorities.

The objective is to collect advanced information on passengers for better risk profiling. Immigration data is available only after the arrival or departure of passengers.

Regulation in line with international best practices.

Airline officials said the move creates a standardised process of passenger data sharing with the Customs department, given that non-standard requests for passenger data could potentially lead to privacy infringements.

At present, airlines are required to share passenger information limited to name, nationality and passport details in advance with the immigration authorities.

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.

Experts say though the intent is to prevent any offence, the passenger details are sensitive information and the government needs to protect the privacy of such data, which is susceptible to misuse.