Spotting fake passports job of police not airlines, says IATA

Interpol said earlier that two Arab airlines would be testing a scheme to access its vast database of stolen travel documents

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Spotting users of fake passports is up to the police not airlines, the aviation industry’s global body IATA says, after police association Interpol said it was allowing two Arab airlines access to its vast database of stolen travel documents.

Tony Tyler, head of the International Air Transport Association, said only governments through their police forces could confirm if passports are being used illegally.

“It is not a job for airlines, it is a job for governments... If there is a problem with border control and invalid passports, that is an issue which governments have to step up to and address,” said Tyler, according to Reuters.

Airline staff at check-in desks routinely verify that names on their passenger lists match those on passports. “But that is as far as the responsibility goes,” Tyler said.

Two travelers on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 were found to be using fake travel documents, according to officials. There was some speculation that the two Iranian men were part of a terror network, although they were later tipped to be asylum seekers.

Interpol, the international police agency, said only a handful of governments make use of its database of lost and stolen travel documents. Such checks would likely have flagged issues with the passports used by the two Iranian men on the Malaysian flight.

Interpol said two Arab airlines have committed to screen passengers using its database.

“I have announced today that Qatar Airways and Air Arabia are two airlines that have committed themselves to making sure that all passengers boarding their planes will have their passport data screened against Interpol’s database,” Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble told reporters at its headquarters, AP reported.

The Sharjah-based Air Arabia denied knowledge of such a plan. Yet Interpol insisted that the airline was involved when contacted by Al Arabiya News.

(With Reuters)

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