Successful DRV activities: No additional burden for travel agencies

The political activities of DRV bear fruit: the cabinet of the Federal Government has adopted its Passenger Name Record Bill – and the Federal Government has taken the criticism voiced by DRV concerning the recording of passenger names into due account.

If companies book flights – or are involved in the issuing of tickets – they must pass on certain data to the security authorities in due time. However, this obligation to pass on data concerns, according to the current Bill, only pure booking data. These are data collected for the carrying out of a flight such as the record locator, the first name and name. Further data, such as information about the seat, luggage or accompanying persons, do not have to be passed on. Furthermore, there is no obligation to create additional technical structures for data transmission.

DRV President Norbert Fiebig: “The Bill which has now been submitted has been improved within the intendment of the travel industry. As DRV, we had voiced considerable doubts concerning the previous Ministry draft. I am pleased to see that these were heard and taken into account. As DRV, we support the objective of increasing security for air travellers but we champion at the same time practical solutions.” If the original wording had been maintained, travel agencies and tour operators would have been forced in practice to check 19 different datasets for flight bookings and enter the information available to them on the passenger. This would have increased the expenditure for flight bookings considerably. Now this major additional burden of travel agencies and tour operators when selling flights will probably be avoided.

Background: The Passenger Name Record Act serves for the implementation of the so-called EU PNR Directive (EU 2016/681). PNR is the abbreviation for Passenger Name Record and includes personal data on flight passengers. The Directive allows the member states to collect and evaluate passenger name records for the purpose of prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime. DRV had accompanied the European legislative procedure from the outset, ie from 2011, actively and intensively in order to ensure that there are practical solutions for the travel industry.

Next steps. The Bill will now be transmitted to the Bundestag (Lower House) for deliberation and decision making. DRV will fight during the further legislative procedure for the Bundestag to follow the approach of the German government and avoid any additional burden of travel agencies and tour operators. In order to implement the Directive in due time, a tight schedule must be complied with. The Bundestag has, however, not a lot of time before the summer recess and the federal election in September to conclude its deliberations. Only if that is successful, the Directive can be implemented in due time. The Passenger Name Record Act would then become effective on schedule on 25 May 2018.