Urgent talks between London and Berlin are currently taking place, in the hope that enough pressure can be applied on German airlines to release their passenger lists in advance for security screening. The German government have been given an ultimatum, drop their data protection laws or face not being able to land in the UK.
Back in September, David Cameron voiced that ‘airlines will have to comply with our no-fly list arrangements, give us information on passenger lists and comply with our security screening requirements. If they do not do so, their flights will not be able to land in Britain.’ The news came alongside much wider preparations made by Cameron to counter-terrorism. New legislation created to stop the flow of British and European jihadists travelling to Syria and Iraq, in addition to keep out foreign fighters trying to get in to Britain will also be bought in later this month.
The most senior Home Office Official, Mark Sedwill, has said; ‘We are looking in to future legislation at taking mandatory powers. We are working with all the airlines. We have 90% of advanced passenger information.’ However, German airlines remain within the 10 % of flights that currently arrive in Britain without providing advanced passenger information.
The UK are not a first in their tightening of information, the US also have a ban in place on airlines which refuse to provide the advance passenger lists on its transatlantic flights.
So why are the passenger lists so important? These lists do not just include a name, and travel plans but also personal details such as the passenger’s home address, credit card numbers and any other additional data necessary. This has allowed airline security to build up a profile of passengers they are interested in.